RBC Decathlon

Dan O'Brien, Dave Johnson

Dan O’Brien wins Dan vs. Dave rematch at RBC Decathlon

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Dan O’Brien finished 42nd overall (and second in his age group) in the RBC Decathlon on Sunday. His old rival, Dave Johnson, did not finish.

O’Brien and Johnson reunited to compete against each other (and more than 80 Wall Street professionals) in a unique decathlon in New York. They believed they had not gone head to head since the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials.

The 1996 Olympic decathlon champion O’Brien improved from 46th last year, accumulating 4,850 points with the following results in the 10 events:

400m run — 1:04.21
Football throw — 61 yards
Pull-ups — 19 reps
40-yard dash — 4.65
Dips — 29 reps
500m stationary row — 1:32.60
Vertical jump — 29 inches
20-yard shuttle (5-10-5 drill) — 4.6
175-pound bench press — 15 reps
800m run — 2:55.44

O’Brien’s best finish against the field was a tie for fourth in the 40-yard dash. The fastest posted 40 time was a 4.28 from Greg Stripe, a former Lafayette wide receiver. That’s .04 of a second slower than the NFL Combine record.

The 1992 Olympic decathlon bronze medalist Johnson aggravated a hamstring injury on the football throw. He launched it 74 yards, though, tops among all competitors.

Dan & Dave was a popular ad campaign leading into the 1992 Olympics, but O’Brien no-heighted in the pole vault at the Olympic Trials and missed the Olympic Team.

Former St. Louis Rams safety Mark Rubin won the overall RBC Decathlon for the third straight year.

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Dan O’Brien, Dave Johnson reunite for RBC Decathlon

Dan O'Brien, Dave Johnson
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Dan & Dave are back.

Dan O’Brien and Dave Johnson, who were the focus of a Reebok campaign before the 1992 Olympics (which O’Brien failed to qualify for), will compete against each other for the first time in more than a decade on Sunday.

They’re two special entrants out of 150 in the RBC Decathlon, an annual New York event that crowns Wall Street’s best athletes that raises money to support pediatric cancer treatment and research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

It’s not an Olympic-style decathlon. Here are the events:

400m run
Football throw
Pull-ups
40-yard dash
Dips
500m stationary row
Vertical jump
20-yard shuttle (5-10-5 drill)
175-pound bench press
800m run

O’Brien, who recovered from no-heighting in the 1992 Olympic Trials pole vault to win the 1996 Olympic decathlon, finished 46th at last year’s event. Former St. Louis Rams safety Mark Rubin, who now works at Barclays, won for the second straight year.

Organizers and O’Brien brainstormed asking other Olympic champions to join for 2014, including Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Carl Lewis.

“But it just made sense to bring Dave Johnson on board and kind of reignite the rivalry,” O’Brien said.

Johnson and O’Brien believe they haven’t competed against each other since the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials, where Johnson finished sixth and O’Brien won. They still see each other at least once a year.

Both have coached recently — O’Brien at Arizona State, Johnson at Oregon State — and agree that O’Brien, who also does work for NBC, is the favorite in Sunday’s reunion. Johnson, 51, says O’Brien, 47, is in better shape now.

“[O’Brien] knows that back in the day there’s no way he’d beat me at something like this,” said Johnson, the 1992 Olympic bronze medalist who is now a director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “This was the kind of stuff I was really good at. He was more of a sprinter and speed guy. There’s a lot of weight-type events.”

Neither is particularly looking forward to the final event, the 800m. The 1500m finale in the Olympic decathlon is always grueling for the world’s best athletes.

“What you’re going to see here is two guys pushing 60 years old competing against guys half our age,” O’Brien said. “I think you’ll see us both jogging in the half mile.”

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