On Saturday evening, Ashton Eaton did something that left him speechless and created a roar from the sellout Hayward Field crowd. The talented multi-event from Bend, Oregon broke the world record on the way to becoming the 2012 Olympic Trials champion.
Eaton was on world record pace from the time the gun went off in the 100m. Clocking a 10.21 Decathlon world record was just what he and coach, Harry Marra had hoped for. On his first leap in the long jump, Eaton flew out to 27-0 for his second consecutive Decathlon world record. A solid throw in the shot (46-7 ¼), a personal best in the high jump (6-8 ¾) and a rain-soaked effort in the 400 (46.70) wrapped up his first day in solid position. His first day point total of 4728 was a sign that big things were possible in Day 2.
A false start on the first event of Day 2 kept the field locked into the blocks and Eaton settled for a 13.70 in the 110m high hurdles. Solid throws in both the discus (140-5), javelin (193-1) and a personal best in the pole vault (17-4 ½) kept him within reach of the world record.
Going into the final event the 1500m, the announcer told Eaton and the 15,204 fans in the stands the task at hand. Eaton would need a personal best and a time faster than 4:16.37 to break Roman Sebrle’s world record.
The former Oregon Duck standout settled into a rhythm behind middle distance decathlete standouts Curtis Beach and Joe Detmer. Strong through 2 laps, Eaton fell a bit off the pace in Lap 3. Urged on by a supportive crowd and powered by his sheer force of will, Eaton closed the final lap in 62 seconds. Beach made way from him down the homestretch and Eaton crossed the line in 4:14.48 as the new world record holder in the Decathlon.
His two-day effort tallied 9039 points, beating Sebrle’s record by 13 points. With a world record in Eugene, London and the Olympics are next on his horizon.