Athletes compete during the Men's Decathlon 110m Hurdles heats on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 9, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
The 28-year-old Hardee is looking lively and pumped and lowered his personal best down to 13.54 to mark a surprising win against Eaton. The 24-year-old WR holder was not far behind finishing in a 13.56 season’s best catching considerably against his World record series 9039p.
Eaton is now only 49 points behind WR with four events to go and there is still a chance for a new record here. The next two events will be crucial and will show which way it will go, but the 42.81m result in the next event, the Discus Throw, is one that can be bettered and by several metres.
Eaton recently threw a season’s best 46.54 in Marburg, Germany, late July and has a personal best 47.36 from last season. The Pole Vault will be trickiest of the remaining events, because the American cleared a big personal best 5.30m in Eugene and that will be very difficult to repeat here. His Javelin result 58.87 from the WR Decathlon can be reached here as Eaton also set a personal best 61.68 in Marburg in July. In the 1500m he ran a PB 4:14.48, but in case the World record is in question in the last event, that shouldn’t be a problem here.
Hardee’s fine performance in the hurdles means that although he can’t think of catching Eaton, he is now the only pick to win the silver medal in the competition. This would mean a 1-2 for the Americans in the competition, something which has not happened in 56 years since Melbourne 1956 where Milt Campbell and Rafer Johnson grabbed gold and silver medals.
Eaton leads with 5693 points after six events with Hardee a clear second having scored 5476p.
Again there was a lot of movement with the athletes looking for the third medal in the competition.
It now looks like Cuban Leonel Suárez is on his way for a second straight Olympic medal having won the bronze in Beijing 2008. With Belgian Hans Van Alphen failing to find his normal level in the hurdles, the Cuban started with a good 14.45 110m Hurdles, just 0.11 seconds off his season’s best. Van Alphen only ran 14.89, well below his personal best 14.55 from Götzis 2012 and faces a tough challenge to beat the Cuban in the remaining events.
Canadian Damian Warner had the best first day of his career, but the second day did not start equally well. Following a 14.38 performance in the hurdles, he is still in third place with 5312 points, but the others are much stronger in the remaining events and are closing in fast. Ukrainian Oleksiy Kasyanov is in fourth place after a good 14.09 clocking in the hurdles with 5309 points, but he too will drop off the medal contention before the last events.
Hans Van Alphen is now in fifth place with 5205p and Germany’s Rico Freimuth now in sixth with 5195p having run a solid 13.89 in the 110m Hurdles, just 0.1 seconds off his PB from Götzis 2012.
But the man looking for the bronze medal, Suárez, is right behind him with 5182 points. The Cuban is a good 45-metre discus thrower and solid five-metre pole vaulter before his two best events. In the javelin he can win a lot of points having thrown 71.99m this season and has a personal best 77.47m in a decathlon in 2009 and is also one of the best 1500m runners in the field.
Furthermore Dutch Eelco Sintnicolaas has been dropped off the medal fight after another disappointing event, 110m Hurdles. The 25-year-old only managed 14.43 in the first event of day two, well below the 14.10 PB from Götzis this season and is in 11th place at the moment with 5064p, but will rise considerably in the rankings because of many strong events to come for him.
Mirko Jalava for the IAAF
2004 Men's Long Jump