ATLANTA — UPDATE: The Olympic quest for "world's greatest athlete" culminated with the 1500m race on Thursday morning. Decathletes competed in 10 rigor intensive events pushing the limits of agility, endurance, and speed.
Former University of Georgia athlete Garrett Scantling placed 4th overall with a score of 8611, only 38 points shy of the bronze medal. Scantling made his Olympic debut at the 2020 Games.
He wasn't the only decathlete with Georgia ties, as three Estonian UGA athletes also competed. Marcel Uibo, Karel Tilga, and Johannes Erm all participated in the two-day-long event. Tilga placed 20th overall in the decathlon with a score of 7018. Erm came in 11th place with a final score of 8213 and Uibo finished in 15th place with an overall score of 8037.
The four men's final event was the 1500m race, in which Erm finished third. Scantling finished 8th, Tilga in 9th, and Uibo in 11th place.
Original story below.
The decathlon consists of ten rigor intensive track and field events. As the two-day competition unravels at the Olympic Games, these four Georgia athletes take on the race to become the champion. The title of the World's Greatest Athlete is saved for the winner of the decathlon for the men and the heptathlon for the women.
Watch as these athletes test their endurance for a chance at a medal here.
The Jacksonville, Fla. native and the former University of Georgia Bulldog said he did a plethora of sports in high school, including basketball, track, football, and baseball.
"Always wanting to do something different," Scantling said.
At first, the decathlon didn't appeal to him because of all the varying skills required and learning from scratch. However, he said sports push minds to the limit -- including his own.
"The 1500-meter is the worst," he said. "It's really hard to get over the fact you have to exert yourself to the limit."
Out of all the events, the javelin is his favorite. He said it perhaps stems from his past throwing things in football and baseball.
Up until high school, he had no idea about the decathlon. In 2016, he came in 4th at the Olympic trials for the Rio Games, shy of making the team. He considered retirement and decided to take a financial services job in Jacksonville.
He makes his Olympic debut two years after quitting his financial planning job in Jacksonville. The decathlete met up with his coach soon after to focus on training once again. For the 2020 Tokyo Games, he won with his personal best score of 8,647.
- Men's decathlon 100m | Aug. 3 | Scantling competed in the first event of the decathlon on Tuesday, Aug. 3, at 8 p.m. for the 100m race. Scantling placed sixth in his heat at a time of 10.67.
- Men's decathlon Long Jump | Aug. 3 | Scantling came in seventh place in his group at a distance of 7.30.
- Men's decathlon shot put | Aug. 3 | Scantling finished second in his group with the 15.19 result at 836 points.
- Men's decathlon high jump | Aug. 4 | The UGA athlete finished 15th overall with a 1.99 distance. He added 794 points to his overall score.
- Men's decathlon 400m race | Aug. 4 | Scantling finished 9th overall with a time of 48.25.
- Men's decathlon 110m hurdles | Aug 4 | Scantling finished second in his heat with 971points.
- Men's decathlon discus throw | Aug. 4 | Scantling finished ninth in his group with 776 points.
- Men's decathlon pole vault | Aug. 4 | Scantling finished in 5th place with a score of 5.10. He added 941 points to his score.
- Men's decathlon javelin throw | Aug. 5 | Scantling finished 4th overall in the javelin throw with a score of 69.10. He sits in 4th place overall in the decathlon.
Maicel Uibo had his Olympic debut in 2016 at the Rio Olympic Games, and a year later, he married his Olympic gold medalist wife, Shaunae Miller-Uibo. The former UGA athlete representing Estonia met Miller-Uibo while in college. The two had classes in common as well as trained together.
"We would always see each other," Miller-Uibo said. "We became really good friends, and the story goes on from there."
Uibo recalls that it wasn't exactly romantic.
"I think my first words to her were, 'Oh, so you're the girl who has the [better] PB than me,' he said.
The Miller-Uibo family proved victorious with a double silver win in the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Qatar. The Estonian runner was prepping for his final decathlon event, the 1500m race, when his wife had placed second in her 400m race. Uibo came in second overall, and both track stars took silver medals home.
"For her, it was a regular day at the office," he said.
In 2016, Uibo and his wife started the Miller-Uibo Foundation, which provides school supplies, scholarships, and mentorships for underprivileged kids in the Bahamas. His wife travels to schools throughout the Bhamamas to speak to children inspiring them to be great.
- Men's decathlon 100m race | Aug. 3 | Uibo finished in last place with a time of 11.32.
- Men's decathlon long jump | Aug. 3 | Uibo finished in 9th place with a score of 7.37.
- Men's decathlon shot put | Aug. 3 | Uibo placed in 21 place overall with a score of 13.95.
- Men's decathlon high jump | Aug. 4 | Uibo placed in 12th place overall with a score of 2.02. He added 822 points to his overall decathlon score.
- Men's decathlon 400m race | Aug. 4 | Uibo was 20th overall in the 400m race with time of 50.82.
- Men's decathlon 110m hurdles | Aug 4 | Uibo finished fifth in his heat with 870 points
- Men's decathlon discus throw | Aug. 4 | Uibo finished eighth in his group with 795 points.
- Men's decathlon pole vault | Aug. 4 | Uibo won the pole vault event with a result of 5.50, adding 1067 points to his overall decathlon score.
- Men's decathlon javelin throw | Aug. 5 | Uibo finished in last place with a score of 50.64. He currently sits in 17th place overall in the decathlon.
The 6'6 UGA athlete Johannes Erm was born in Tallin, Estonia. He's making his Olympic debut on the Estonian team as part of the decathlon. Erm is the 2019 NCAA outdoor champion for the decathlon tallying a personal record of 8,352 points.
He started competing in sports when he was 12. By the time he was in high school, Erm had won a bronze medal in the decathlon at the 2016 U-20 World Championships.
"I went to track and field practice, and we started by doing everything. Maybe I never decided what I'm good at, so I stuck with decathlon," Erm said.
He currently lives in Athens, Georgia, and hopes for an Olympic medal at the 2020 Tokyo Games.
- Men's decathlon 100m race | Aug. 3 | Erm finished in 15th place with a time of 11.04.
- Men's decathlon long jump | Aug. 3 | Erm finished in 12th place with a score of 7.36.
- Men's decathlon shot put | Aug. 3 | Erm finished in 13th place overall with a score of 14.60.
- Men's decathlon high jump | Aug. 4 | Erm placed in 17th place overall with a score of 1.99. He added 794 points to his overall decathlon score.
- Men's decathlon 400m race | Aug. 4 | Erm was 8th overall in the 400m race with a time of 48.25.
- Men's decathlon 110m hurdles | Aug 4 | Erm finished third in his heat with 905 points
- Men's decathlon discus throw | Aug. 4 | Erm finished third in his group with 782 points.
- Men's decathlon pole vault | Aug. 4 | Erm placed 15th overall with a score of 4.80, adding 849 points to his decathlon score.
- Men's decathlon javelin throw | Aug. 5 | Erm finished in 14th place with a score of 58.41. He is 13th overall in the decathlon.
Before he set his sights on track, the Estonian UGA athlete Karel Tilga was a basketball player. When he moved to Tartu, Estonia, he found a good coach that led him into track and field as a child.
He said he was always a hyperactive kid. In his town, they have about five different sports -- Tilga did them all. With so many practices and training, the former UGA athlete said he trained more hours per week while he was 12 than he does now as an Olympic decathlete.
" I like moving around; I could never sit still," Tilga said.
Despite being a decathlete, he said his hero is basketball player Lebron James.
'Before the 400m and 1,500m runs, I always tell myself that no matter how hard it is during the race, I feel good again an hour later. It motivates me to give my best," Tilga said.
Tilga moved in 2018 to Athens, Georgia, to study and train at UGA.
- Men's decathlon 100m race | Aug. 3 | Tilga finished eighth in his heat with a result of 11.31
- Men's decathlon long jump | Aug. 3 | Tilga scored a 7.36 in the long jump placing 22nd overall.
- Men's decathlon shot put | Aug. 3 | Tilga place 5th overall, scoring 15.25 in the shot put. He added 805 points to his overall score.
- Men's decathlon high jump | Aug. 4 | Tilga scored a 2.02, adding 822 points to his overall score. He placed 13th overall.
- Men's decathlon 400m race | Aug. 4 | Tilga finished 19th overall in the 400m race with a time of 50.48.
- Men's decathlon 110m hurdles | Aug 4 |Tilga finished 6th in his heat with 722 points
- Men's decathlon discus throw | Aug. 4 | Tilga finished 11th in his group with 691 points.
- Men's decathlon pole vault | Aug. 4 | Tilga had no marks for the pole vault.
- Men's decathlon javelin throw | Aug. 5 | Tilga won the javelin throw event with a score of 73.36. He is in 21st place overall in the decathlon.
Here's how you can watch Team USA in the decathlon:
- Who: Georgia's Kendell Williams and Team USA Heptathlon
- What: Team USA
- When: 8 p.m. ET
- Where: Tokyo, Japan
- TV: Peacock
- Stream: LIVE on NBC Olympics
The goal of the decathlon and the list of events:
There are ten events in the decathlon
It's not about being the best in every event of a heptathlon or decathlon. It's about being the best, or nearly the best, in enough of them compared to the other competitors to win the gold. Because of the varied nature of the events, having speed, strength, agility, and endurance are all necessary.
- 100 meters
- Long jump
- Shot put
- High jump
- 400 meters
- 110-meter hurdles
- Discus throw
- Pole vault
- Javelin throw
- 1,500 meters