K-State to Host USA vs. Germany Thorpe Cup

MANHATTAN, Kan. The 16th annual Thorpe Cup with the USA and Germany facing off in decathlon and heptathlon competition will take place this weekend on the campus of Kansas State. The series was developed by Harry Marra of Team USA and Team Zehnkampf coach Claus Marek in 1993 with the first competition in Aachen, Germany.

The competition is part of the Nike Combined Events Challenge and has become one of the world’s most important nation versus nation team decathlons and heptathlons and has been run under various names. In 2007 the event officially took the name of The Thorpe Cup in honor of 1912 Olympic Decathlon Champion Jim Thorpe.

This year’s meet will be at R.V. Christian Track and Field Complex for the second time where Team USA edged out a victory over the Germans in the decathlon by 57 points in 2006. The American women bested the Germans by 97 points two years ago in the heptathlon.

Every year the Thorpe Cup alternates between sites in Germany and the United States and brings strong competition with it. Last year, the Germans and Americans battled in a close heptathlon competition that saw Germany win by just 13 points. The closest competition in the decathlon came in 1999 when the Americans bested Germany by a mere five points.

With each nation sending its top three decathletes and heptathletes to the Olympics, competition will still be high with last year’s Thorpe Cup winner Mustafa Abdur-Rahim defending his title for America. Lela Nelson also returns to defend her crown in the heptathlon for Team USA. The Germans boast strong competitors as well with 2007 World University Games winner Jacob Minah and 2006 runner-up Lars Albert. The German women bring Christine Schultz who has posted a 6,000-point performance this season and Katja Keller and Maike Goldkuhle both rank in Germany’s top 10.

Competition begins Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. at R.V. Christian Track and Field Complex. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children K-12. Weekend passes to both days are available at a cost of $10 for adults and $7 for children.