Ashton Eaton sets new world record in decathlon

Ashton Eaton celebrates after he broke the world record in the decathlon event. Eaton earned a total of 9,039 points and broke two world records during his competition. (Tess Freeman/Emerald)

Ashton Eaton celebrates after he broke the world record in the decathlon event. Eaton earned a total of 9,039 points and broke two world records during his competition. (Tess Freeman/Emerald)

Posted by Isaac Rosenthal on Saturday, Jun. 23 at 5:55 pm.

Just a few hours of sleep removed from one of the best first-day performances ever by an American decathlete, Ashton Eaton returned to the track Saturday for the 110-meter hurdles. Eaton was once again grouped with defending Olympic gold medalist Bryan Clay, running in the last of four sections. After a false start forced the runners to return to the blocks, Eaton barely beat out Trey Hardee, finishing in 13.70. Eaton jumped out to an early lead but Hardee closed the gap over the last 50 meters, finishing barely behind Eaton in 13.71.

The win earned Eaton 973 points, bringing his overall total to 5,742. That gave him a 324-point lead over Hardee entering a stretch of three straight field events. The decathlon would end with the 1500 meters.

Eaton placed fourth in his flight in the discus with a throw of 42.81 meters to earn 722 points and remain in first place with half the field still to throw. Hot on Eaton’s tail was Hardee, who won the first flight with a throw of 49.05 meters on his first and only fair throw. That earned him 851 points and brought him within 195 points of Eaton.

Following a long layoff, Eaton resumed competition with the pole vault. He continued his career outing by clearing the bar at 5.20 meters on his first attempt, equaling his personal-best mark.  After missing on his first two attempts at 5.30, Eaton set a new PR by clearing the bar on his first attempt.

With two events remaining, Eaton expanded his lead over second-place Hardee to 289 points and was just 1423 points behind the American record and 1558 behind the world record.  The scores Eaton needed to set a new American or world record entering the final two events were well within his reach — and Eaton did not disappoint. In the javelin, he threw just under 59 meters on his first attempt, setting up a chance to chase the world record in the decathlon’s final event, the 1500 meters.

Eaton needed a personal-best time in the 1500 to set the world record. Fueled by thousands of screaming fans at Hayward Field, Eaton finished in 4:14.48, smashing his PR and setting a new world record with 9039 points.