To be the best, you got to beat the best. And for decathletes, heptathletes, pentathletes, and triathletes, you've got to do it more ways than one. Assistant Fresno State Track and Field coach Lisa Misipeka knows. She was an Olympian in 1996, 2000, and 2004, representing American Samoa.
"You can run, you can jump, you can throw. You can do 10 events and add those points up and be the best overall great athlete."
Ten events? That's the decathlon. It consists of 100, 400, and 1500 meter runs, a 110 meter hurdle, long-jump, high-jump, shot-put, discus, pole-vault, and javelin.
For women, it's the heptathlon, which is seven events 200 and 800 meter runs, a 100 meter hurdle, long-jump, high-jump, shot-put, and javelin. Ten events, or seven, all wrapped up into one? It's as intense as it gets.
"A lot of people go through a lot of doubt when they don't do well in one event, and then to just have to shake it off and step up for your next event, maybe you don't do good on your second. Shake that off and do it again. I mean, you don't have time. These people are ridiculous multi-taskers."
Then you have the pentathlon, less events, but equally intense. The modern pentathlon is celebrating 100 years at the Olympic Games. Athletes begin competition with fencing, followed by a 200 meter swim. After that, it's an equestrian jump. The event concludes with a combined 3-kilometer run and shooting competition, where athletes stop at several points along the run, and try to hit five targets.
Whereas the first two are track and field events, the triathlon is more of an endurance event, and consists of swimming, cycling, and running.
London's Hyde Park will host. It's a 1500 meter swim, the cycling portion is 43 kilometers, and the run is 10 kilometers. This goes for both men and women.
Nabil Ali has been running triathlons for three years. He's also a coach with the leukemia and lymphoma society's team-in-training. He says for triathletes, and any Olympian really, it's as much about the training, as it is the diet. "The amount of time, the dialing of their nutrition, and their liquid intake, what they have to eat, to drink, those have to be dialed in to a science."
You can catch all the Olympic action on NBC's Olympic website by clicking here.