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  August 26, 2011
  A Surprising Welcome in Daegu
  August 27, 2011
  Eaton and Hardee Going Toe to Toe in the Decathlon at World Championships
  August 28, 2011
  Justin Gatlin Overcomes Frostbitten Feet at World Championships
  Symmonds Qualifies for 800 Final at World Championships
  Eaton Takes Second Place In World Championship Decathlon
  August 29, 2011
  Ashton Eaton Gains a Measure of Mental Ttoughness through the Difficult Competition at the World Championship
  August 30, 2011
  Brief Update: Centrowitz and Wheating
  Symmonds Takes Fifth in 800 Final at World Championships
  September 1, 2011
  Vessey Breezes through First Round of 800 at World Chanmpionships
  Galen Rupp Makes 5000 Final at the World Championships
  Jesse Williams Strikes Gold at Worlds
  September 2, 2011
  Rachel Yurkovich Looks Ahead to the 2012 London Olympics
  Vessey Finds Another Gear to Mark 800 Meter Final at Worlds
  Lauren Fleshman Finishes 7th in the 5000 Meters at World Championships
  September 3, 2011
  World Championships Bronze for UO’s Matthew Centrowitz
  September 4, 2011
  Galen Rupp Places Ninth in World Championship 5000 Meters
  Vessey’s Quest for 800 Meter Medal Ends with Bittersweet Final
Eaton and Hardee Going Toe to Toe in the Decathlon at World Championships

By Steve Ritchie
August 27, 2011

Ashton Eaton
DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA – After day one of the decathlon at the IAAF championships here, Bend native Ashton Eaton finds himself in a pitched battle for the gold medal. Eaton scored 4446 points to lead defending world champion Trey Hardee by 53 points. Oleksiy Kasyanov of the Ukraine is within striking distance in third with 4310 points.

Like a couple of evenly-matched boxers, co-favorites Eaton and Hardee tried to land their best punches throughout the five events but neither could gain much of an advantage on the other.

The travel, pressure, humidity and a 13-hour day of competition, which started at 10 a.m. and was punctuated by a six-hour mid-day break between the shot put and high jump, seemed to take a toll on most of the competitors on day one. Very few athletes recorded personal bests in any of the events.

Trey Hardee

Eaton came close to his personal best in the shot put, with an effort of 14.44m/47’-8 1/2,” shy of his PR by a foot, but the best mark he has recorded in a decathlon competition. It also is a remarkable seven and a half foot improvement over his shot put mark at the last World Championships in 2009, showing how much growth the 23-year-old Eaton has managed in an event that did not come naturally to him.

Eaton and Hardee started things off with a bang in the first heat of the 100 meters. Hardee got out of the blocks quicker than Eaton. By thirty meters, though, Eaton had pulled even, and he gradually opened a slight gap on Hardee. His time of 10.46 to Hardee’s 10.55 gave Eaton a 22-point lead over Hardee.

Oleksiy Kasyanov

Both men struggled in the next event, the long jump, usually one of Eaton’s best events. Eaton and Hardee both fouled their first attempts in the long jump. On his second attempt, Eaton played it safe and took off well behind the board. His jump of 7.46/24’-5¾ kept pace with Hardee, who landed just a centimeter shy of Eaton’s mark. Their final efforts were lackluster, as Hardee fouled again and Eaton fell well short of his previous jump.

After two events, Eaton was clinging to a scant 25 point lead over Hardee. That was expected to change in the shot put, and it did, but Eaton’s big opening throw kept things close. Hardee put the shot 15.09m/49’6” on both his first and third throws, fouling on his second. It was enough to take the lead over Eaton by 15 points.

After the long break in competition, the battle continued in the high jump. Buoyed by a third attempt clearance at his previous height, Hardee cleared 2.02/6-7¼ to match Eaton’s clearance. Neither could clear the next height, a definite blow to Eaton’s chances, as he is not only considered the better high jumper of the two, but had also recently set a new PR of 6’10¾ in the event after making some technical adjustments.

Aleksey Drozdov

Russian Aleksey Drozdov, who had a strong performance in the high jump, moved into the lead after the high jump by two points over Hardee and 17 over Eaton. But it was a short-lived lead, as Eaton regained the lead in the 400 meters by running a 46.99 to win the first heat and record the fastest time among all the heats. Hardee ran 48.37 in the 400, a good result for him, but trailed Eaton by 53 points heading into day two of what feels like a grind it out affair.


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