Road to Rio: How Spartans train for the decathlon

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The men's decathlon is on the schedule today and Team USA is an early favorite.

There is nothing quite like the decathlon.

"It's a two day, 10 event grueling competition to see who the best all around athlete is," says Michigan State University decathlete Tim Ehrhardt.

This test to see who can handle everything from hurdles and long jump to shot put and javelin, is one of the most intensive events at the Olympic games - a challenge the U.S. is typically up for.

"The American decathlon team is going to be one of the harder teams to make at the Olympics for America," says MSU Assistant Track and Field Coach Ceith Creekmur.

I met up with some Spartan decathletes to learn more about this ultimate athletic test.

Ehrhardt made it to the Olympic trials in the decathlon in Euguene, Oregon this year.

"It didn't go the way that I wanted it to this year, I pulled a hamstring," he says, "but I am going to to be coming back there with a vengeance."

For Tim and team mate Justin Pederson, training is a major commitment.

"We really hammer home the events that we are not as strong at, which is usually the second day events," says Pederson. Both are juniors at MSU.

Plus, for Tim the physics major and Justin, a linguistics major, keeping up with school and training has meant they've had to make a lot of sacrifices.

"We have given up a lot of things, like we don't go out and party all the time," says Ehrhardt.

And for most American athletes, training for the decathlon begins for the first time in college.

"In the United States, a lot of athletes have not done the decathlon in high school," says Creekmur, "So that is something that most people are starting when they get to college."

For these athletes, it is the challenge of ten different events that keeps things interesting and worthwhile.

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