Eaton leads after three Olympic decathlon events

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LONDON – With two of the best decathletes in the world, it is no surprise that Team USA’s Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee sit in 1-2 after three events on Wednesday’s morning session that also saw seven Americans advance to the next round of their events at Olympic Stadium.

After three events, World Record holder Eaton (Eugene, Ore.) and two-time World Champion Hardee (Austin, Texas) sit solidly in first and second. Eaton has 2,848 points, with Hardee in second at 2,743 points. In the first event of the day, Eaton set an Olympic record in the 100m in 10.35 seconds to earn 1,011 points. Hardee was not far behind as he ran the second fastest time of the day in a season best of 10.42 for 994 points.

In the long jump, Eaton recorded the best mark of the day on his third jump as he lept 8.03m/26-4.25 to add 1068 points to his tally and increase his lead over the field. Eaton was the only decathlete to land beyond the 8-meter mark, and his mark is would have held up for a top ten finish in the individual men’s long jump final earlier in the week. Hardee’s best jump also came on his last attempt with a mark of 7.53m/24-8.50 for 942 points.

After two events, Hardee only held second place by a margin of 6 points, but after a solid throw of 15.28m/50-1.75 on his third attempt in the shot put, he distanced himself by 79 points over Oleksiy Kasyanov of Ukraine who sits in third. Eaton recorded a best mark of 14.66m/48-1.25 to add 769 points to his total.

The U.S. men continue to show a historic level of talent and depth in the distance events. For the first time since 1932, the U.S. will have three men running in the final of the 5,000m after all three American men advanced through the qualifying round with ease. Running in heat 1, Lopez Lomong (Beaverton, Ore.) stuck with large lead pack of 12 men and was ready to respond when the gears changed on the last lap to take 4th in 13:26.16 to advance automatically. The second heat got out much faster than the first, with Craig Mottram of Australia and Galen Rupp (Portland, Ore.) leading the first half of the race. Bernard Lagat (Tucson, Ariz.) ran near the back of the lead pack for the majority of the race, but once the kick for the line began, he moved up into 4th to finish in 13:15.45 to advance automatically. Rupp finished 6th in 13:17.56 and easily advanced as the fastest qualifier on time.

American record holder Brad Walker (Mountlake Terrace, Wash.) is the only U.S. man advancing to the final of the pole vault. Walker entered the competition with the bar at 5.50 and took all three attempts to advance to the next height of 5.60m/18-4.5, which he cleared on his first attempt. With only two clearances, Walker earned his spot in Friday’s final. Jeremy Scott (Brookland, Ark.) narrowly missed making the final after he cleared 5.50m/18-0.50 on his second attempt. Derek Miles (Tea, S.D.) did not clear a height after taking three attempts at the bar at 5.20m/17-0.75.

The American women did not advance any athletes to the final of the hammer throw. In the first flight, Amber Campbell (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) sent the hammer sailing 69.93m/229-5 and American record holder Jessica Cosby (Mission Hills, Calif.) threw a best mark of 69.65m/228-6. First-time Olympian Amanda Bingson (Las Vegas, Nev.) threw 67.29m/220-9 on her final attempt.

On the day of her grandmother’s 100th birthday, Alysia Montano (Canyon Country, Calif.) gave her grandmother something to cheer about as turned in the fastest time of the day in the 800. Montano bolted ahead of the field in heat 1 and held on to win the heat in 2:00.47. Alice Schmidt (Coronado, Calif.) led heat 2 and held on for 2nd in 2:01.65 to automatically advance to the semifinals. Geena Gall (Eugene, Ore.) finished 4th in heat 4 in 2:03.23 and was able to nab the last qualifying spot on time.