BEIJING, China—University of Washington alum Jeremy Taiwo (left/photo by Paul Merca) was forced to withdraw for the second straight IAAF World Track & Field Championship decathlon competition with an injury, dropping out after completing seven events.
He started the day by running 14.81 in the hurdles for 873 points, then threw 134-6 (41.01m) for 685 points in the discus.
But in the warmups before the pole vault, he knew that it was over when his left knee wouldn’t cooperate when he tried to run from both a short approach and a long approach.
He told USA Track & Field afterwards, "Before the hurdles, I couldn't get over one hurdle in the warm up. So I just went out and hoped the adrenaline would get me through. It did. I decided that I needed to take it one event at a time. I needed to finish this. Pole vault warm-ups, I tried to see if I was going to be able to get up to top speed. I couldn't get to the box or off the ground from my long approach or my short approach. That was the final straw where I knew I should bow out. I had been battling it since long jump and I couldn't hold on any longer.”
"It was a tough decision, and one I didn't want to make. It was a battle between my will to finish, and my instinct for what my future may be. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do [indoors]. I would be ecstatic if the USA chose me to represent my country, especially since it's in the Northwest. But if I'm not chosen, it will impact how I work towards making the Olympic team. A million things are running around in my head. But I just need to get home, take time off, feel healthy. And see if I want to start this journey."
Oregon alum Ashton Eaton exerted his will on the field as he broke his own world record in the event, scoring a ten event total of 9045 points, exceeding the 9039 he scored in winning the 2012 US Olympic Trials in Eugene.
Eaton, who led at the break with 4673 points, started off by running 13.69 in the hurdles, followed by a throw of 142-2 in the discus. He then had a strong showing in the pole vault, clearing 17-0.75 (5.20m), then threw 208-9 (63.63m) to set up the dramatics in the 1500 meters, where he needed to run at least 4:18.25, a time he had only run once, to break his old record of 9039 points.
After being behind pace for the first 400 meters, he gradually picked the pace up, but at the bell, needed a 63 second last lap to get the world record.
The native of Bend, Oregon, crossed the line second overall in 4:17.52, to break the world record, and in the process, potentially collect a world record bonus from the IAAF and partner TDK of $100,000.00.
In other finals Saturday night, Mo Farah of Great Britain and the Beaverton-based Nike Oregon Project, won the 5000 in 13:50.38, using a lethal 3:56 last 1600 and a 27 second last 200 to successfully defend his world title;
Maria Kuchina of Russia won the women’s high jump with a leap of 6-7 (2.01m);
In a mild upset, Marina Arzamasova of Belarus won the women’s 800 in 1:58.03;
Piotr Malachowski of Poland led a 1-3 podium finish, winning the discus with a throw of 221-1 (67.40m), while teammate Robert Urbanek was third at 213-10 (65.18m);
Jamaica swept both the women’s (41.07) and men’s (37.36) 4 x 100 meter relay, as the USA women’s squad of English Gardner, Allyson Felix, Jenna Prandini, and Jasmine Todd (all except Felix are either current or former Oregon Ducks) finished second in 41.68, while the USA men’s team of Trayvon Bromell, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay & Mike Rodgers were disqualified.
Earlier in the day, Matej Toth of Slovakia won the 50-kilometer race walk in 3:40:32.
The curtain draws to a close Sunday at the world championships with seven finals, including the women’s javelin featuring Vancouver’s Kara Winger, who is competing in her first world or Olympic final in five career appearances in the sport’s biggest stage.