Clay starts well, leads decathlon after first event
The men’s Decathlon started in torrential rain at the National Stadium in Beijing. Just moments before the start of the event water poured down extremely hard, but it seemed to slow down just a bit and the results were affected surprisingly little.
The first event of the Olympic Decathlon produced one major upset with 2004 Olympic bronze medallist Dmitriy Karpov clearly injured and not able to defend his bronze here. Karpov finished the 100m in 11.83, almost one second slower than his season’s best 10.85.
Fastest in the first event was, as expected, the number one gold medal favoutite Bryan Clay clocking a very good 10.44 despite the rain. The American has scored a world leading 8832 points this season, more than 250 more than anyone else and only lost 12 points in comparison to that series in the first event.
Countryman Trey Hardee also started well at 10.52 and Oleksiy Kasyanov (UKR) followed in 10.53. Hardee is fighting for medals here, but Kasyanov will not because he is only a little over 8000-man in total points.
Cuban Yordanis García set a personal best 10.64 and another Cuban Leonel Suárez, already a medal favourite before the competition, set a huge personal best 10.90 cutting 0.24 off his previous best and is already 53 points ahead of his personal best series 8451 points from earlier this season.
Of the athletes in the medal contention Tom Pappas (USA, 11.12) and Aleksey Sysoyev (RUS, 11.03) lost a lot of points in the first event, but Andrei Krauchanka (BLR), the number two on the 2008 world list, ran 10.96, 0.02 faster than in his season’s best series 8585 points.
The Belarussian started very differently this time in comparison to the Osaka World Championships where he was disqualified for two false starts in the first event!
Olympic champion Roman Sebrle started with a 11.21 100m and will need a lot of points in other events to get to the medal fight – his SB 8076 is about 500 points less than other medal candidates have scored this season and his 100m score was even 11 points less than he had in that SB series.
Mirko Jalava for the IAAF