Ashton Eaton of the United States competes in the Men's Decathlon High Jump on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 8, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
American World record holder Ashton Eaton continued his excellent Olympic Decathlon. Clearing every height until 2.05m with his first attempt, Eaton the chance of becoming the first athlete to exceed 9000 points (or 8900p) at the Olympics. The 24-year-old, who has jumped a personal best 2.11m in an individual high jump competition this season, matched the 2.05m clearance from his World record series in June and is still just 57 points behind the WR at this stage having scored 3698 points.
Double World champion Trey Hardee, also from the US, is still in second place after four events, but fell significantly farther back in the High Jump, where he cleared 1.99m, which will keep him in contention for the medals. Hardee has 3537 points, 161 less than his compatriot.
Belgian Hans Van Alphen continues to chase his own Decathlon national record and is in third place with 3489 total points. The 30-year-old had an early scare with two failures at 1.93m, but still jumping in leggings, a third time clearance at this height sparked him to a good competition ending at 2.05m, just one centimetre less than in his NR series in Götzis 2012.
All of the other medal contenders did not do as well, but the biggest news was the performance of Cuban Leonel Suárez in the High Jump. The 24-year-old 2008 Olympics bronze medallist cleared 2.11m, with a jump that would have easily been enough for 2.14m as well, but could not then clear more heights. Even this 2.11m result puts him well within sight of a medal though as he is now on his way to well over 8500 points. The Cuban is in seventh place right now, but will rise because of a strong second day, especially the last two events, the Javelin Throw and 1500m.
Canadian Damian Warner has put in a fine first four events and has suddenly become a player for the top placings. The 22-year-old started with a fast 10.48 100m season’s best, had a PB 7.54m in Long Jump, missed his PB in the Shot Put by just one centimetre and then set another personal best in the High Jump clearing 2.05m. The Canadian is now in fourth place with 3487 points.
Dutch-German duo Eelco Sintnicolaas and Pascal Behrenbruch have lost important points and unless they can redirect their performances back upwards, the medals are quickly moving from their grasp.
Sintnicolaas had a very disappointing high jump only clearing 1.93m, well below the 2.00m from his PB series earlier this season. European champion Behrenbruch fell further back in the fourth event and is now more than 200 points behind his 8558 personal best from the Helsinki European Champs 2012.
Ukrainian Oleksiy Kasyanov is in fifth place with 3458 points after a good 1.99m high jump and Dmitriy Karpov (KAZ) in sixth place with 3419p. With the others going below their earlier results, 21-year-old Russian Sergey Sviridov set a 1.99m personal best in the high jump adding a massive 5cm to his previous best and will challenge Sintnicolaas and Behrenbruch in the overall competition.
Mirko Jalava for the IAAF
- Ashton Eaton of the United States competes in the Men's Decathlon High Jump on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 8, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Brent Newdick of New Zealand competes in the Men's Decathlon High Jump on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 8, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Eelco Sintnicolaas of Netherlands competes in the decathlon high jump (Getty Images) © Copyright