The men’s combined events got off to the best possible start in Rio with the Olympic decathlon 100m best being broken.
It wasn’t defending champion Ashton Eaton who bettered the mark, either. The US all-rounder held the previous best at 10.35 set in London four years ago, but Canada’s Damian Warner took 0.05 off that mark when winning the fourth decathlon 100m heat in an Olympic decathlon best of 10.30.
In Gotzis earlier this year, Warner set a world decathlon 100m best of 10.15, so it wasn’t necessarily surprising to see that the world silver medallist finished 0.16 ahead of Eaton here. Nevertheless, the last time Eaton hasn’t led a combined events competition after the first event, indoors or out, was at the 2009 IAAF World Championships in Berlin.
Eaton now finds himself in the unusual position of having to make up ground in the second event, the long jump, where his outdoor season’s best is four centimetres shy of Warner’s.
USA’s Zach Ziemek finished third in the fastest decathlon 100m heat, clocking 10.71. But perhaps the most significant performance – in terms of the medal hunt – came from France’s Kevin Mayer. The 2014 European silver medallist clocked a big PB of 10.81 to boost his chances of contesting for a medal. Mayer was the only athlete in the entire round to set a PB.
Arthur Abele, Germany’s top hope of a medal, performed to par with a clocking of 10.87. Compatriot Rico Freimuth, the world bronze medallist, also got off to a solid start, running 10.73.
Algeria’s Larbi Bourrada and Ukraine’s European silver medallist Oleksiy Kasyanov also started well, running season’s bests of 10.75 and 10.78 respectively.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF