How does the scoring work in heptathlon? Rio 2016 guide

Confused by the points system in Olympic heptathlon? You're not the only one...


OK, everyone might love watching Jessica Ennis-Hill in the heptathlon, but do you have the slightest inkling of how the winner will be decided in Rio 2016?


Thought not.

How does the heptathlon scoring work?

Well, the first bit is easy. Each athlete competes in all seven events, and earn points depending on their performance. The winner is the athlete with the most points at the end.

How do athletes earn points?

Here’s where it gets a bit more complicated. It’s not like Formula 1, where racers earn a set amount of points for coming in first, second and so on.

Instead, the points system has been created by Viennese mathematician Dr Karl Ulbrich. Deep breath…

We won’t go into the complex equation (mainly because we don’t quite understand it ourselves), but essentially, for a ‘standard’ performance, athletes are given 1,000. If athletes run faster, jump higher or throw further than that base performance, they earn more than 1,000 points.

So anything over 1,000 is good?

Correct. Only three women have ever earned over 7,000 points in total during competition. In 2012, Jessica Ennis-Hill scored 6,955 points, over 300 more than her nearest rival.

So there you have it, a rough guide to what’s good, and what’s not so hot, in Olympic heptathlon. Now, time to get your calculators out…


When is Jessica Ennis-Hill competing in Rio 2016?