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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 Takes Second Place in World Championship Decathlon

By Steve Ritchie / Special to the Bend Bulletin
August 28, 2011

Ashton Eaton
DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA – A heroic effort in the decathlon 1500 meters carried Ashton Eaton from third to second and brought him a silver medal – his first medal of any color in a major outdoor international championship meet – at the World Track & Field Championships.

Eaton, the former Mountain View and UO star, scored 8,505 points to capture second behind fellow American Trey Hardee, the defending world champion, who won with 8,607 points. Cuban Leonel Suarez came on strong in the final three events to place third with 8,501.

Going into the 1500 meters, the last event of the decathlon, Eaton was in a precarious position. First place was out of reach for him, and, after struggling mightily in the pole vault and javelin, Eaton was sitting in third place. He was 32 points behind Suarez, and just 42 points ahead of Russian Aleksey Drozdov. To earn the silver medal, Eaton needed to finish ahead of Drozdov and to beat Suarez by at least five seconds in the 1500.

Leonel Suarez

“Knowing there was a chance to get second, I said ‘alright, let’s do it.’ I knew the time I had to run and I could see on the monitor how close (Suarez) was so I just went as fast as I could . . . I don’t even know what I was thinking when I was running, it hurt so bad.”

With an blazing 60.5 final lap in the race, Eaton secured the silver medal, finishing 5.22 seconds ahead of Suarez and edging him by a mere four points. While the finish was the stuff legends are made of, the decathlon competition was a struggle from start to finish for Eaton.

Aleksey Drozdov

“It was very much of a grind. There were things that didn’t go well for me, and I just had to tough it out.” Eaton held a 53-point lead after the completion of five events on day one, and got off to a good start on the second day, running the fastest time of the day in the 110 high hurdles, the first event. His 13.85 in the hurdles bested Hardee by .12 seconds and increased his overall lead to 69 points, as the pair distanced themselves from the rest of the field.

Trey Hardee

In the discus Hardee unleashed a season best effort of 165-11 on his first throw. Eaton responded with a solid throw of 151-5, but it wasn’t enough to keep the lead. Hardee took a slim eight-point lead into the next event, the pole vault, which would prove to be pivotal.

Eaton opened up at 15-1 and cleared the bar easily by what looked like a couple of feet. Hardee passed until the bar reached 15-9 and made it on his second attempt. Eaton, however, ran into trouble at this height. He had a close miss on his first attempt, hit the bar on his way up on his second, and never came close on his third.

Ashton Eaton

His mark of 15-1 was more than two feet under his personal best of 17-3, and left him with just 790 points in the event. Hardee, in contrast, earned 849 points for his mark of 15-9, also well under his personal best.

At that point, it appeared to be game over for Eaton’s bid to win the gold. The javelin, which is Eaton’s weakest event, did not go well for him either. He managed a best throw of 181-1, six feet off his personal best. Suarez and Hardee both gained a lot of ground, as they threw 226-9 and 226-4, respectively. Despite falling short of the gold, Eaton could see a silver lining in the result here. He said he learned a valuable lesson about keeping his expectations for himself in check during the competition and just taking things as they come.

“I expected more (from myself) but maybe in preparation for next year (the London Olympics) this will be a good thing.”


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