U.S. decathlete lays claim as the greatest

  • Article by: NEWS SERVICES
  • Updated: August 10, 2012 - 12:14 AM

Ashton Eaton claimed the gold medal in the decathlon Thursday. He fell short of the world record he set in June and short of the Olympic record, but the American staked his claim as the greatest all-around athlete in sports.

LONDON - At the end, Ashton Eaton leaned forward, hands on his knees, out of breath. He looked like the world's most exhausted athlete, not its best.

Eaton claimed the gold medal in the decathlon Thursday. He fell short of the world record he set in June and short of the Olympic record, too. Still, at 24, years earlier than expected, the American staked his claim as the greatest all-around athlete in sports.

"This is super hard to grasp," Eaton said. "For me, I want 10 perfect events."

Eaton's winning score, 8,869 points, was the eighth-highest in Olympic history. After the 1,500 meters, the final event, Eaton draped the American flag around his back and took a lap around the stadium.

Even Usain Bolt, the star of the night with his victory in the 200 meters, was impressed. "I'm a great athlete, but to do 10 events, especially the 1,500 -- I've got to give it to him," Bolt said.

Eaton already had an impressive rsum before the Games, winning three NCAA titles, setting a world record and breaking the 9,000-point barrier. But he lacked a significant international title. Until Thursday.

Teammate Trey Hardee finished second, and it marked the first time the U.S. won two decathlon medals in the same Olympics since 1956.

On a day when they competed in Bolt's shadow, Americans added to their track-and-field medal haul, as Christian Taylor and Will Claye went 1-2 in the triple jump. Taylor, who holds the world title, overtook his teammate on his fourth jump to win by 19 centimeters.

With three days to go, the team's total is 24, one more than the U.S. earned in Beijing.

David Rudisha of Kenya eclipsed Bolt by setting a world record on the London Olympic track. Rudisha won the men's 800 meters in 1 minute, 40.91 seconds, one-tenth of a second lower than his 2010 mark. "It's something special to break the world record at the Olympics," the 23-year-old said.

For American sprinter Manteo Mitchell, the glory was just in finishing his portion of the 4x400-meter relay preliminaries.

With half a lap to go as the leadoff runner, Mitchell felt a pop in his left leg and knew it wasn't good. "It felt like somebody literally just snapped my leg in half," he said.

Instead of stopping, he finished the lap in 46.1 seconds and limped to the side to watch the Americans qualify easily for the final.

A few hours later, doctors confirmed he had run the last 200 meters with a broken left fibula. The bone is expected to heal in four to six weeks.

"I heard it and I felt it," Mitchell said. "But I figured it's what almost any person would've done in that situation."

He credited something more than simple adrenaline for pushing him the rest of the way. "Faith, focus, finish. Faith, focus, finish. That's the only thing I could say to myself," he said.

In the previous 4x400-meter relay heat, Oscar Pistorius was bouncing on his carbon-fiber blades in the sun at the start-finish line, waiting for his turn to compete. But the handoff never came.

The South African team's second runner collided with a Kenyan rival on the final turn and tumbled to the track. But the team was reinstated and advanced to Friday's final on appeal about an hour after the race, when the officials ruled the Kenyan had obstructed his South African rival. Pistorius, the first amputee to compete on a Summer Games track, will get to run a final race.

Pistorius' countrywoman, Caster Semenya, won her 800-meter semifinal in 1:57.67 to move one step closer to an Olympic medal three years after being forced to undergo gender tests. "I'm very happy to get through to the finals," she said. "It was very hard, but I tried my best. I just have to go to my bed."

Former Gopher Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic successfully defended her javelin title. The 31-year-old Spotakova, who competed for Minnesota in the 2002 season and who holds the world record, secured the gold medal on her fourth throw. Her mark of 69.55 meters beat out the competition by more than 4 meters.

And Jeneba Tarmoh, the woman who gave up her spot to Allyson Felix in the 100 meters after a dead heat for third place at the U.S. trials, ran the second leg on the American team in the 4x100 relay qualifying. Tarmoh, Tianna Madison, Bianca Knight and Lauryn Williams were tops in 41.64 seconds, just missing an Olympic record.

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Houston 2 FINAL
St. Louis 5
Washington 9 FINAL
Atlanta 8
Miami 5 FINAL
Boston 3
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
NY Yankees 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 1
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 5
Detroit - LP: J. Mantiply 4 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: C. Torres 5
Cincinnati 5 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 2
Los Angeles 10 FINAL
Milwaukee 1
San Francisco 12 FINAL
Texas 3
Chicago WSox 0 FINAL
San Diego 5
Kansas City 11 FINAL
Cleveland 9
Seattle 4 FINAL
Los Angeles 7
Colorado 0 FINAL
LA Angels 3
Oakland 7 FINAL
Arizona 2
Pittsburgh 2 Bottom 3rd Inning
NY Yankees 0
Chicago 39 2nd Qtr 1:03
Indiana 45
Sacramento 56 2nd Qtr 0:53
Orlando 66
Utah 41 2nd Qtr 1:09
Philadelphia 42
Miami 39 2nd Qtr 1:20
Washington 67
Toronto 42 3rd Qtr
Charlotte 53
Cleveland 19 1st Qtr 0:45
Atlanta 34
Boston 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Detroit 7:00 PM
Houston
LA Lakers 7:00 PM
Memphis
Phoenix 7:00 PM
Brooklyn
Denver 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Dallas 9:30 PM
Golden State
Columbus 1 2nd Prd 18:40
New Jersey 0
Minnesota 1 2nd Prd 17:29
Carolina 0
Buffalo 1 1st Prd 6:07
Ottawa 0
Calgary 1 1st Prd 5:50
Detroit 2
Edmonton 7:30 PM
Chicago
Pittsburgh 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Longwood 68 FINAL
Char Southern 60
Ark-Pine Bluff 94 FINAL
Miss Valley St 75
Southern Ill 45 FINAL
Wichita State 56
Winthrop 67 FINAL
Radford 66
Evansville 67 FINAL
Illinois State 71
Towson 64 1st OT 2:15
Elon 70
Gardner-Webb 69 1st OT 2:18
High Point 66
Samford 76 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 81
Northern Ill 20 2nd Half
Ball State 22
Bowling Green 35 2nd Half
Buffalo 35
Brown 35 2nd Half
Dartmouth 22
Toledo 29 2nd Half
Eastern Mich 31
Akron 31 2nd Half 19:17
Kent State 37
Ill-Chicago 25 2nd Half
Oakland 30
Miami-Ohio 30 2nd Half
Ohio 53
Columbia 9 2nd Half
Penn 23
Cornell 25 2nd Half
Princeton 32
Central Mich 22 2nd Half
Western Mich 39
Bradley 25 2nd Half
Northern Iowa 27
Morehead State 22 1st Half 6:27
Murray State 25
UNC-Asheville 7:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
Yale 7:00 PM
Harvard
Furman 7:30 PM
Citadel
Coll of Charleston 7:30 PM
Drexel
Texas Tech 8:00 PM
Baylor
Pacific 8:00 PM
San Francisco
Detroit 8:30 PM
Cleveland State
Belmont 8:30 PM
Eastern Ky
Loyola-Chicago 8:35 PM
Indiana State
Loyola Marymount 10:30 PM
Santa Clara
Chicago 9:00 PM
Los Angeles
Saint Louis 63 FINAL
(21) George Washington 77
Wake Forest 68 FINAL
(16) Duke 77
Furman 55 FINAL
(17) Chattanooga 68
Monmouth 61 FINAL
Quinnipiac 82
Michigan State 60 FINAL
(4) Maryland 70
Belmont 65 FINAL
UT Martin 71
Arkansas 36 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 58
Mercer 56 FINAL
East Tenn St 66
Richmond 45 FINAL
Fordham 46
Miami-Florida 61 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 77
Siena 61 FINAL
Iona 71
Washington St 48 FINAL
(9) Arizona State 67
Ark-Pine Bluff 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 51
(23) Rutgers 57 FINAL
(24) Northwestern 62
Tennessee St 71 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 59
Loyola Marymount 50 FINAL
Gonzaga 70
(18) Texas A&M 65 FINAL
LSU 71
Cincinnati 76 FINAL
UCF 66
Saint Josephs 61 FINAL
Dayton 80
UCLA 62 FINAL
(19) Stanford 67
Santa Clara 42 FINAL
San Diego 51
Virginia Tech 43 FINAL
(7) Florida State 82
SMU 57 2nd Half 1:24
Memphis 65
Lehigh 75 FINAL
Holy Cross 62
Rhode Island 25 2nd Half
Duquesne 29
North Florida 15 2nd Half
(20) Fla Gulf Coast 30
Kennesaw St 29 2nd Half
Jacksonville 27
USC Upstate 15 2nd Half
Northern Ky 24
Lipscomb 22 2nd Half 19:01
Stetson 51
Nebraska 33 2nd Half
(14) Iowa 36
Saint Peters 30 2nd Half 17:14
Marist 25
Navy 28 2nd Half 17:38
Bucknell 22
Lafayette 29 2nd Half 20:00
American Univ 34
Colgate 15 2nd Half 19:15
Army 22
Georgia 11 2nd Half
(5) Tennessee 32
Dartmouth 43 2nd Half 15:50
Brown 29
Penn 22 2nd Half 19:15
Columbia 15
(13) Princeton 55 2nd Half 11:59
Cornell 24
Kansas 12 2nd Half
Kansas State 23
Harvard 45 2nd Half 13:47
Yale 44
(15) North Carolina 7:00 PM
(10) Louisville
San Jose St 7:00 PM
UNLV
Houston 7:00 PM
Tulane
Utah State 8:00 PM
Colorado State
Colorado 8:00 PM
(8) Oregon State
New Mexico 8:00 PM
Wyoming
Minnesota 8:25 PM
Ohio State
(12) Kentucky 8:25 PM
(11) Miss State
San Diego State 8:30 PM
Nevada
Niagara 8:30 PM
Fairfield
Texas Tech 8:30 PM
West Virginia
Boise State 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Washington 10:30 PM
California

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