Ashton Eaton of the United States competes in the Men's Decathlon 100m Heats on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 8, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
The fresh World record holder Ashton Eaton (9039p), only the second athlete to simultaneously hold both Decathlon and indoor Heptathlon World records – the other was 1996 Olympic champion Dan O’Brien – clocked 10.35, the fastest ever in an Olympic Decathlon, to lead the competition after the first event with 1011 points. Although this is 0.14 seconds slower and 33 points less than his 10.21 Decathlon World best from his World record, to put this result in context it’s also the equal fifth fastest wind legal time in a decathlon all-time - and two of those faster times belong to Eaton himself.
Eaton was expected to lead after the first event, but the real news of the opening event was that the winner of the last two World titles 2009/2011, Trey Hardee (USA) is back to top form here. The 28-year-old has been struggling a bit this season and his 8383p second place finish was far away from his best scores (PB 8790 at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin) and from a performance needed for a medal here, but a 10.42 season’s best start in the 100m suggests that he is going for top positions in the competition. This is only 0.03 seconds behind his 10.39 PB from 2010 and his second best career wind legal 100m time. In contrast to the women’s Heptathlon starting event 100m hurdles, this time the conditions did not seem perfect at the Olympic Stadium.
Only two personal bests were recorded among the 31 starters. Behind the two top Americans, all of the other four athletes predicted for a medal before the competition were a bit below their best times. German Pascal Behrenbruch, the 2012 European champion, Hans Van Alphen of Belgium, Dutchman Eelco Sintnicolaas and Kevin Mayer of France are however still very much in contention for a top three finish. Canadian Damian Warner ran a season’s best 10.48 and is in third place after the first event. 26-year-old Ukrainian Oleksiy Kasyanov, who finished fourth at the 2009 World Championships, also set a season’s best 10.56 and much to the delight of the home crowd Briton Daniel Awde ran a personal best 10.71 to win the last heat run into a head wind followed by young Russian Sergey Sviridov, who after also setting a 10.78 PB has an outside chance at a medal here.
Mirko Jalava for the IAAF
- Ashton Eaton of the United States competes in the Men's Decathlon 100m Heats on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 8, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Daniel Awde of Great Britain celebrates after competing in the Men's Decathlon 100m Heats on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 8, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Trey Hardee of the United States (R) and Eelco Sintnicolaas of Netherlands compete in the Men's Decathlon 100m Heats on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games on 08 August 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright