Former world record-holder and world decathlon champion Tomas Dvorak says Ennis and Eaton will come out on top in London
Three-time world decathlon champion Tomas Dvorak believes the boost from the home crowd will spur Jessica Ennis on to Olympic gold.
“It will be very special for Jess,” said Dvorak of the 2009 world champion who was second in Daegu 2011. “For athletes like Jess, because she’s so strong, it will be a big advantage.”
Ennis leads this year’s world rankings with her British record of 6906, achieved at the Hypo Meeting in Gotzis. But her task in London will not be easy, as she will be up against the two athletes who defeated her in her past two appearances at global championships – world champion Tatyana Chernova and world indoor champion Nataliya Dobrynska.
While Chernova and Dobrynska represent Ennis’s toughest opposition at the London Olympics, Dvorak believes that Ennis’s own team-mate Katarina Johnson-Thompson will be a big threat to her dominance in future.
Johnson-Thompson smashed Ennis’s UK junior record with a score of 6248 in Kladno to book her spot on the Olympic team. Just a few weeks ago, the Liverpool teenager won a surprise gold in the long jump at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona.
“Jess looked very good in Gotzis, but Katarina will be a big surprise,” said Dvorak, who is now head coach of the Czech Republic team.
“I saw Katarina in Barcelona and in Kladno when she competed well in bad weather. Jess should watch out for her.”
Dvorak, bronze medallist at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games, added that Ashton Eaton will win gold in the men’s multi-event competition, but the world record will end unbroken.
A former world record holder, Dvorak feels Eaton will be too strong for his rivals after setting a world record of 9039 at the US Olympic Trials in June.
Eaton, silver medallist at the Daegu 2011 World Championships when he was beaten by compatriot Trey Hardee, broke the record that had stood to Dvorak’s fellow Czech decathlete Roman Sebrle since 2001.
“I’m happy for Ashton,” said Dvorak, who retired from competition in 2008. “He is a special guy. I texted his coach (Harry Marra), whom I have known for 20 years.
“Roman was happy, too. Records are there to be broken, but I don’t think the world record will be broken in London. Championships are special for decathletes, and the Olympic Games is not the right environment for it.”
“Last year Hardee was in shape and he has a very strong mind, but this time, a 500-point gap is too big.”