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Decathlon: Leo Neugebauer breaks 39-year-old Hingsen record

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Decathlon: Leo Neugebauer breaks 39-year-old Hingsen record
athletics German sports history

After 39 years, Jürgen Hingsen’s decathlon record is broken

Sensation in decathlon – Youngster breaks Jürgen Hingsen’s age-old record

Decathlete Leo Neugebauer broke Jürgen Hingsen’s record in Texas. The 22-year-old DLV youngster broke five personal bests – and is now even the favorite at the World Championships in Budapest.

In a small stadium in Austin, Texas, something remarkable is happening almost unnoticed by the general public. A 22-year-old decathlete surpasses himself and writes a piece of German sports history.

Sjust a few meters before German history was pulverized, tears overcame him. Leo Neugebauer was about to cross the finish line of the final 1500 meter run when the adrenaline gave way to emotions. He wept with happiness and raised both index fingers to the sky as he crossed the finish line at the NCAA Division Championships in Austin.

At that moment, a 22-year-old Swabian had achieved something historic in front of a few thousand spectators at a small meeting in Texas. Jürgen Hingsen’s old German record had been broken. It lasted 39 years, set up on June 9, 1984 in Mannheim by the German decathlon legend with 8832 points. The performance of the now 65-year-old was a world record at the time. Neugebauer improved the record at Mike A. Myers Stadium by four points to 8836. “I would have liked to have cracked 40 years. But I think it’s sensational, it’s phenomenal. Of course I’m really happy, but you’re also a bit sad,” said Hingsen.

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Neugebauer’s coach drew his attention to breaking Hingsen’s mark. “It feels incredible,” said Neugebauer, “it makes me the greatest in history in the whole country. I still can’t believe it.” After this feat in the history of the decathlon, only eight athletes have scored more points than he did.

“I was no longer in control of my body,” says Neugebauer

Neugebauer, who started for the LG Leinfelden-Echterdingen, also improved five personal bests within the competition: over 100 m (10.61 seconds), 400 meters (47.08 seconds), discus (55.06 meters), pole vault ( 5.21 meters) and javelin (57.45 meters). This led to surprising reactions during the competition. “The pole vault was the most emotional moment of my life,” said Neugebauer: “I never cry. But once I passed the mark I ran away like mad because I couldn’t control my body anymore, it just wanted to take off. There was definitely a tear in it, but that just goes to show how much that means.”

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In the 1500 meter run he then finished in 4:48.00 minutes, it was like a kind of precision landing for the record. Neugebauer studies in Texas, starting there for Texas Track & Field and Cross Country. Neugebauer’s score broke the college record of 8720 set by Kyle Garland last May. It also broke the meeting record of 8,457 points set by Ashton Eaton in winning the 2010 NCAA title and matched by Ayden Owens-Delerme last year with the same score as Eaton.

Leo Neugebauer finished tenth at the World Athletics Championships in the USA last year

Leo Neugebauer finished tenth at the World Athletics Championships in the USA last year

Source: pa/dpa/Michael Kappeler

At the end of March, Neugebauer had already met the norm for the World Cup in Budapest (19th to 27th August) and the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris with his personal best of 8478 points at the time. As the best in the annual world rankings and all of a sudden he is one of the medal candidates at the World Championships alongside the German opponent Niklas Kaul.

“I’m very proud of Leo, and he can be very proud that he brought this great achievement together,” commented national decathlon coach Christopher Hallmann on the coup: “This increase is extraordinary and the steep performance curve is definitely special.” That athletes increase significantly, one has seen more often, “but such a significant increase is a new sphere”.

Nevertheless, Neugebauer does not see himself as having reached his limit. “I definitely still have potential,” he said in an interview with TV station Sport1. The national coach also believes he can score even higher, but does not want to make him a 9,000-point candidate. “I don’t want to put that burden on him just yet. Now he should first of all celebrate and enjoy the performance he has brought in,” stressed Hallmann. “I don’t want to be too greedy now, but I wouldn’t prevent it if it happens in the next few years.”

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