The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


St. Mark's School of Texas
10600 Preston Road Dallas, TX 75230
The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


Turek Travels to Germany for Thorpe Cup

The United States track team gathers for a photo holding their American flags.

Varsity track and field coach John Turek traveled to Marburg, Germany this past summer for the annual Thorpe Cup – a decathlon and heptathlon competition between the United States and Germany. Both countries alternate hosting: one year in the United States, the next in Germany.

Originally, the Thorpe Cup was a decathlon with seven men from both countries excluding women. In 2005, Turek was elected the committee chairman for the women’s heptathlon, the female equivalent. At a dinner with Claus Merik, decathlon coach for the German national team, Turek brought up the idea of adding a women’s event. 

“We really need to include women in this to be fair, and after a lot of deliberation, [Merik] agreed with me,” Turek said. “So in 2006 we added a women’s [heptathlon].”

Turek’s passion for track and field has led him on a path from a common enthusiast to a renowned figure and board member of the United States governing body, USA Track & Field.

He has worked with the national team 14 times; in 2005 Turek coached the Thorpe Cup team as the assistant, 2006 and 2015 as the head women’s coach and 2019 as the head coach. As the private coach, his role on the national team was the team manager or “facilitator ” for the athletes and their coaches; whereas for the school, he works closely with each athlete. 

“This past season, some of the men and women brought their own private coaches with them,” Turek said. “ In those scenarios, I’m not going to usurp their private coach who’s coached them everyday all year long.”

In past years, the cup had been hosted at the University of Oregon and the Olympic Training Center. Ever since he was involved in designing the school’s facilities, Turek had always dreamed of hosting the Thorpe Cup –  it was “one of the things on [his] bucket list.” This past year, he finally had the opportunity to organize the competition to take place at the school. 

“It’s very unique for an educational institution like [St. Mark’s] to host an international meet [because] it’s usually held at a university or big time sports complex,” Turek said. “I’ve always wanted to host the Thorpe Cup because I love it and have a passion for decathlon and heptathlon.”

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Christian Warner, Staff Writer