Aug. 10, 2010
MADISON, Wis. -- Once again, the Thorpe Cup has become the highlight of Joe Detmer's summer.
After a runner-up finish in the event last year, Detmer posted a personal-best score of 8,090 points to take the title in the 2010 edition of the USA vs. Germany decathlon series last week in Marburg, Germany.
Detmer's performance allowed him to hold off fellow Team USA athlete Chris Helwick, who scored 7,799 points, for the win. In the end, the American duo's 1-2 showing wasn't enough to hold back the German squad, which claimed the team title by the ultra-slim margin of just 13 points and snapped a seven-year win streak for the U.S.
The Germans totaled 38,268 points over the course of the 10-event competition, with the American team registering a score of 38,255.
Individually, however, Detmer's performance was enough to eclipse the impressive career-best total of 8,009 he amassed on his way to a third-place finish at the 2010 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in June.
The 2007 University of Wisconsin graduate set personal-best marks in three events, and his second-consecutive 8,000-point performance also moved him up to No. 18 on the world list for 2010.
Detmer posted a personal-best mark of 24 feet, 3 inches in the long jump on the opening day and held the overall lead after five events, posting the best first-day score of his career at 4,149 points.
That effort also had the Americans holding a slim 98-point lead with five events remaining. The advantage evaporated, however, and left the U.S. squad looking at a 154-point deficit as the final event - the 1,500 meters - rolled around.
Detmer, still the American collegiate record-holder in the 1,500, excelled as usual in his specialty event and crossed the line first in 4:13.26. That led the way for a 1-2-3-4 sweep for the U.S. in the event, but it still wasn't enough to overtake the Germans.
Detmer had opened the second day of competition by clocking a time of 14.92 in the 110-meter hurdles, finishing just .02 seconds off his personal-best mark in the event despite running into a 1.8 meters-per-second headwind.
He came up big again two events later by clearing a personal-best 16-11 1/4 to share the top mark in the pole vault with Helwick. Another lifetime-best performance followed in the javelin, with Detmer posting a mark of 186-7 to build an insurmountable lead heading into the final event.
This year's competition marked Detmer's fourth Thorpe Cup competition. He was third in 2007, finished fifth in 2008 and grabbed second place in 2009.
All-time, the U.S. holds a 13-4 lead over Germany in the Thorpe Cup series.