Next Generation of Decathletes

Decathlon heroes of the past who graced Wheaties cereal boxes race through my mind. Clay, O'Brien, Jenner, Mathias, Johnson, Toomey, and Thorpe. These U.S. Olympic decathlon gold medalists epitomize the title of best all around athlete, almost super-human.

There's a new generation of decathlete being trained on our university campuses, including Santa Clara University near Applied Materials’ corporate headquarters. These athletes are combining the skills of their academic prowess in design and engineering with the brawn of the construction trades to compete in U.S. Department of Energy's biannual Solar Decathlon competition.

The Applied Materials sponsored team at Santa Clara University is seeking to improve on their third place finish two years ago as all teams arrive at the Constitution Mall for the grueling two week competition. It will be perseverance at its best as they face the challenges of national media exposure, critical scientists serving as judges and even celebrity visits, perhaps by the First Family.

In the Olympics a decathlon competition is 10 different track and field events. In a Solar Decathlon university students apply construction and engineering skills to build energy efficient homes designed to use tomorrow’s energy efficiency idea in everyday life. However, with one small catch: their homes had to be transported to Washington, D.C. No small feat when you’re over 2,800 miles away.

One of the greatest hurdles upcoming generations face is deploying science and technology to address accelerating global warming trends. It will take decathletes, with the stature of an O'Brien, Jenner, Mathias, or Thorpe, to win this competition with climate change. At Applied Materials we are inspired by the talent we see in this year’s Santa Clara team and optimistic about the future their ideas will help build.

We will keep you updated on the progress of our Santa Clara decathletes as they showcase their innovative energy solutions in this year’s competition.

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