BEIJING - The world’s greatest athlete was greater than ever Saturday night.
Already the Olympic champion, world champion and world record holder in the decathlon, Ashton Eaton rewrote the decathlon record book with a gold-medal performance of 9,045 points, breaking his previous record of 9,039 set at the 2012 Olympic Trials.
In relay action, team USA’s women’s 4x100 turned in a strong silver-medal performance behind the #2 time in history.
Eaton crushes decathlon world record
Eaton (Bend, Oregon) needed to run 4:18.25 to break his world record. He paced himself conservatively throughout the first 500 meters before quickening his stride to catch up with Algeria’s Larbi Bourrada, who has a 1500m personal best similar to Eaton’s. Eaton stayed with Bourrada and matched his pace throughout the entirety of the final lap. Crossing the finish line, Eaton pumped his fist and then collapsed in celebration, finishing in 4:17.52. His 829 points in the 1500m surpassed his previous decathlon world record by six points and gave him a momentous win over Damian Warner of Canada in second (8,695 national record) and Rico Freimuth of Germany in third (8,561).
Zach Ziemek (Itasca, Illinois) ran a personal-best 4:56.66 in the first section to finish 15th with 8,006 points.
Earlier in the evening, Eaton needed an impressive showing in the javelin, as he was just 45 points off WR pace. He responded with a colossal opening throw, launching the spear 63.63m/208-9 to put him 27 points ahead of his world record pace from 2012. Eaton’s second attempt was a rocket, but he stumbled trying to keep himself on the runway and fouled the throw. His first throw proved to be his best and gave him a cushion heading into the final decathlon event of the evening.
Ziemek turned in a season’s best in the javelin to start the evening session, registering 56.50m/185-4 on his second attempt.
Women’s 4x100m takes silver behind championship record
With three sprinters competing in their first World Outdoor relay final, the Team USA 4x100 lineup of English Gardner (Voorhees, New Jersey), Allyson Felix (Los Angeles), Jenna Prandini (Clovis, California) and Jasmine Todd (Chandler, Arizona) used solid exchanges and an especially strong curve run by Prandini, whose leg took the Americans from third to second, to take the silver medal in 41.68 seconds.
It took the second-fastest time in history to beat them.
The Jamaican quartet of Veronica Campbell-Brown, Natasha Morrison, Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce ran a stunning 41.07 to win the race, crushing their World Championship record of 41.29 set in Moscow and posting the second-fastest time in history, behind only the U.S. world record of 40.82 set at the 2012 Olympic Games. Trinidad and Tobago was third in a national record 42.03; Great Britain in fourth also set a NR with 42.10.
Best 5k team performance in WC history
The Americans’ 5-6-7 finish in the men’s 5,000 meters was the best overall performance by a trio of U.S. runners in World Championships history. The race opened with a pedestrian 72-second first lap, with the field passing 1600m in 4:48. The entire field ran together over the first 4,000 meters, with Galen Rupp (Portland, Oregon) and Ben True (North Yarmouth, Maine) toward the front and Ryan Hill (Hickory, North Carolina) hanging toward the back. With three laps to go, the pace began to quicken, and both True and Rupp worked to keep up with Britain’s Mo Farah, Caleb Ndiku of Kenya and Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet, but the die was cast. Rupp kept his edge over True and finished fifth in 13:53.90, with True not far behind in 13:54.07 for sixth and Hill seventh in 13:55.10. It was the first time Team USA had three men finish in the top eight.
U.S. men’s 4x100m disqualified
The men’s 4x100 looked poised to match the women in mining silver. Trayvon Bromell (St. Petersburg, Florida) responded to a very quick gun to get the U.S. off and running, and double silver medalist Justin Gatlin (Pensacola, Florida) turned in his traditional, dominant second leg to take the lead. Tyson Gay (Lexington, Kentucky) came off the curve to hand off to Mike Rodgers (St. Louis, Missouri) but the duo completed their pass well out of the exchange zone. Their second-place time of 37.77 was disqualified, leaving Jamaica with the win in a world-leader 37.36, China second in 38.01 and Canada third in 38.13.