Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ashton Eaton earns the title of "World's Greatest Athlete" by winning Olympic decathlon title...

LONDON--Eugene's Ashton Eaton (above, with Trey Hardee/photo courtesy continued his mastery of the decathlon, winning the two-day, ten-event extravaganza to highlight, from an American perspective, day seven of the Olympic track and field competition.

Much as they did at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Eaton and reigning world champion Trey Hardee went 1-2, as the Oregon alum scored 8,863 points and Hardee had silver with 8,671points, marking the fifth time the U.S. has gone 1-2 in the decathlon. Hall of Famers Milt Campbell and Rafer Johnson were the last to accomplish the 1-2 feat, in 1956. Leonel Suarez of Cuba was third behind Eaton and Hardee, scoring 8,523 points.

“The 1-2 finish was what we really, really wanted," said Eaton. "There has been a really good history with the U.S. decathletes. This is the 100th year anniversary, and Trey and I are just doing my best to carry it on. It is hard for me because I understand I am young and it is hard to grasp, but the good things is I’ll get older and I can look back on it. For me I want ten perfect events. If I really felt like I was the world's greatest athlete, I would get ten perfect events. I know that is near impossible, but that is the tough part of the decathlon.:

In another 1-2 finish for Team USA, University of Florida alums Christian Taylor and Will Claye won gold and silver in their first Olympic Games. Claye’s runner up finish combined with his earlier long jump bronze makes him the first American man since 1904, and the first time since 1936 for any man to medal in both jumps at the same Olympics.

In the fourth round Taylor ripped a huge jump of 17.81m/58-5.25 to take a commanding lead, and Clay improved his best to 17.62m/57-9.75 to shore up his status in second place.

In probably the most impressive performance of the meet thus far, Kenya's David Rudisha set the first world record on Olympic Stadium's super-fast surface, running away with the race in a time of 1:40.91, as he led the others behind him to a world junior record, two national records and seven personal bests.

Nijel Amos of Botswana was second in 1:41.73 to set a world junior record and national record; Timothy Kitum of Kenya was third in a personal best of 1:42.53.

The two Americans--Duane Solomon and Nick Symmonds--were fourth and fifth in PRs of 1:42.82 and 1:42.95.

Jamaica's Usain Bolt successfully defended his 200 crown, leading a 1-2-3 sweep of the medals, running 19.32--ironically the same time that Michael Johnson ran in his historic 1996 race in Atlanta, a time thought then to be untouchable.

Teammates Yohan Blake finished second in 19.44 and Warren Weir was third in a personal best of 19.84. Lone American Wallace Spearmon was fourth in 19.90, a season best time.

University of Minnesota alum Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic successfully defended her 2008 Olympic javelin title, throwing 228-2 (69.55m).

Day seven results are available here.

In the penultimate day of competition, Mountlake Terrace resident Brad Walker competes in his first Olympic pole vault title, with the event getting underway at 7 pm local time (11 am in Seattle).

Other finals Friday include the women's hammer, 5000, 4 x 100 relay and the 1500; and the men's 4 x 400 relay.

The day eight start lists are available here.

NOTE: USA Track & Field and the IAAF contributed to this report.

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