What are you doing this weekend?
While you’re sunbathing in the park, prosecco in hand, Wall Street’s finest will be competing for the crown of Best Athlete.
Yes, it’s that time of the year again, when the financial services industry comes together to compete and raise money for a worthy cause.
The Decathlon has been around for seven years. It was started in New York City in 2008 by Dave Maloney, then a banker at Morgan Stanley, as a competitive bet between friends, and has now grown into a top class athletic event taking place across five cities in America.
While the event in other cities is open to amateur athletes from all professions, the New York Individual Decathlon is exclusively for Wall Streeters. This is the first year the event has expanded to other cities across America and also the first year the competition will be televised for NBC sports.
The event raises a ton of cash for charity, and all proceeds go to benefit pediatric cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Last year, it raised $1.4 million in New York. This year, Maloney expects the New York Decathlon to raise $1.5 million and each new market to raise $1.0 million.
Maloney’s own mother is a cancer survivor, so the charity is close to his heart.
Teams have to raise a minimum of $10,000 while the individual fundraising requirement is $3,000. As of Friday, the top individual fundraiser is Michael Bissmeyer, a director at RBC Cap Markets, who has raised $25,024.66. The top team fundraiser is BAML ECM at $34,324.00.
There’s still time to donate, and there’s also an option for a performance-based pledge, where the better a Decathlete performs athletically, the more money is donated.
Wall Street competitors take the event very seriously.
Mark Rubin, crowned Wall Street’s top male athlete the last four years in a row, is entering this year’s competition to defend his title for the fifth year.
Rubin is a futures and options trader at ICAP and a former NFL player. He has been training 5 days a week and balancing his workouts to reflect the diverse events he will compete in.
“The challenge is to prepare yourself for that range of activity,” he said.
Laura Placentra, a trader at Citigroup, is the defending champ in the women’s category. She’s doing upper body training, pilates and boxing to prepare. She also plays a lot of flag football and competes in leagues in New York.
Her mother is a breast cancer survivor and her grandmother, who passed away in 2011 from cancer, was treated at Sloan-Kettering.
“They gave her an extra few years of life due to their amazing capabilities,” she said.
“Also when I first arrived in New York, I wanted to volunteer and help with a few different charities. Given my fairly rigorous work schedule, It was not easy finding volunteer opportunities later in the evening,” she said. “One great aspect about the Decathlon is that I can work out or train late in the evening and put some of my fitness training to work for good causes.”
Athletes compete in 10 events at the decathlon, which were inspired by the NFL Scouting Combine and the Olympic Decathlon. These events are: 400m run, Football throw, Pull-ups, 40yd dash, Dips, 500m row, Vertical jump, 20yd shuttle sprint, Bench Press, and 800m run.
Inspired to watch? The Decathlon is taking place this weekend on June 11-12 at St. John’s University from 8am, and is free to attend. Saturday is the Team Competition while individual athletes compete on the Sunday.
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