World record-holder Ashton Eaton leads a US one-two in the decathlon ahead of two-time world champion Trey Hardee
World record-holder Ashton Eaton was the unstoppable winner of the gruelling ten-event decathlon. For the majority of the two days, Eaton was on 9000-point pace and this was still an attainable target if he attacked the 1500m in the manner in which he did at the US Championships but the American, as so many champions-in-waiting choose to do, eased around in the middle of the pack.
Eaton, who finished the 1500m in 4:33.59, tallied a score of 8869 which was the second highest in Olympic history, bettered only by Roman Sebrle’s Olympic record of 8893. The US took a one-two as Trey Hardee, who needed elbow surgery after winning the world title last year, won silver with a season’s best of 8671.
Leonel Suarez from Cuba set an Olympic decathlon javelin best of 76.94m en route to the bronze medal.
Taylor takes triple jump gold
Reigning world triple jump champions have a good record in Olympic competitions. Christian Olsson won the gold medal in 2004 after winning the world title in 2003, Nelson Evora defeated Phillips Idowu in 2008 to add to his world title in 2007 and multi-talented world champion Christian Taylor from USA maintained this trend this year.
The 22-year-old won gold with a season’s best of 17.81m ahead of team-mate Will Claye in 17.62m. The gold and silver medals very much went to form while erratic Fabrizio Donato from Italy, who turns 36 next week, won his first global medal with 17.48m.
Spotakova defends in the javelin
World record-holder Barbora Spotakova became the first athlete since Ruth Fuchs in 1976 to defend the Olympic javelin title. The Jan Zelezny-coached athlete had four valid efforts which would have all been sufficient for her second gold medal.
Her best effort of 69.55m came in the fourth round as she defeated Christina Obergfoll from Germany by more than four metres with team-mate Linda Stahl taking the bronze medal.
Beijing silver medallist and 70m-performer Mariya Abakumova had a disappointing competition in tenth with 59.34m.
Semenya back in shape, US 4x100m team sub-42
Caster Semenya only broke the two-minute barrier twice in the build-up to the Games but the South African is hitting optimum form at just the right time. The 2009 world 800m champion set a season’s best of 1:57.67 to qualify fastest ahead of European under-23 champion Yelena Arzhakova, who was one of three Russians to make the final along with Ekaterina Poistogova and reigning world champion Maria Savinova.
UK champion Lynsey Sharp finished seventh in the first semi-final in 2:01.78.
United States dropped the baton in the heats in Beijing but their 4x100m squad, which can be strengthened by the inclusion of Allyson Felix and Carmelita Jeter, still set one of the fastest times in Olympic history of 41.64.
Russia, the reigning champions, had at least two awful changeovers and finished out of contention in the heats with 43.24.