2011 World Champs/Daegu: Day 2, Decathlon: Trey Hardee defends, Ashton Eaton takes silver by .8, Leonel Suarez takes bronze, by Larry Eder

The decathlon will be one hundred years old in 2012. It is an event, at least for the United States, steeped in tradition. Jim Thorpe, Glenn Morris, Bob Mathias, Milt Campbell, Bill Toomey, Bruce Jenner, Dan O'Brien, Dave Johnson, Steve Fritz, Chris Huffins, Bryan Clay are some of the names that are part of the fabric of this great event. Add Trey Hardee's name to that list. And make sure you watch Ashton Eaton.

Eaton-HardeeFL-World11.JPG Ashton Eaton, Trey Hardee, 2011 WC Decathlon, silver, gold, photo by PhotoRun.net

Trey Hardee showed, with this meet, that he gets it. The decathlon, is all about mental toughness.  " Everybody's training had to be leading up to this. We all know what it takes to make our bodies peak. We all just missed the boat. To miss the boat and score 8600 points is pretty impressive." noted Trey Hardee.

Ashton Eaton won the silver by gutting out a brutal 1,500 meters, and putting just over five seconds on Leonel Suarez in the 1,500 meters. " I let my coach do the thinking (Harry Marra). He told me that I had to beat the Cuban by five seconds to get the silver." And that is what he did!

Here is how we saw the second day of the decathlon:

The first day ended with Ashton Eaton in lead with 4,446 points after five events (10.46, 7.46 LJ, 14.44m shot, 2.02m hj, 46.99 400m). Trey Hardee, the defending champion was in second in 4,399 (10.55, 7.45m LJ, 15.09m Shot put, 2.02m HJ, 48.37). In third was Oleksiy Kasyanov of Russia with 4,310 (10.75, 7.59mLJ, 14.43m Shot put, 1.99 HJ, 49.50 400m).

The second day, as always, was going to be a battle. "This was a mental battle," noted Trey Hardee after the second day.

In the 110m hurdles, Ashton Eaton hurdled 13.85 (959 points), Trey Hardee hurdled 13.97 (978), Leonel Suarez of Cuba, who hurdled 14.29 (937 points), moved from 8th to 6th. Ashton was still in the lead, 5440 to 5371. 

Aleksey Drozdov of Russia threw 50.29m for the discus (876 points), winning the discus, moving from 11th to fifth. Trey Hardee threw 49.89m (868 points), in first still with 6239 total points. Ashton Eaton threw 46.17m for 791 points (11th in the discus), in second with 6231 points. Leonel Suarez, with a throw of 46.25m (793 points), moved into fourth place. Trey moved back into the lead, 6239 to 6231.

The pole vault was where it got interesting. Eelco Sintnicolaas of the Netherlands cleared 5.20m, scoring 972 points and moving from tenth to fifth. Leonel Suarez of Cuba cleared 5.00m, for 910 points, moving into third. Ashton Eaton had a crisis of faith, clearing 4.60m for 790 points.

"Trey tried to get me psyched, but I could not get it, I was in despair." noted Ashton Eaton.
After the pole vault, Trey Hardee had a score of 7,088, Ashton Eaton had a score of 7,021, and Leonel Suarez had a score of 6,842.

There was no room for screwing up. 

Hardee_Trey400-WorChps11.jpgTrey Hardee, 2011 WC decathlon, photo by PhotoRun.net

For Hardee, the challenge was Leonel Suarez, the Cuban decathlon star, who cleared 5.00 meters in the pole vault. Trey Hardee had cleared 4.80m, but could not go higher. Ashton Eaton cleared 4.60m and was in peril of going out of the medals. For Hardee, he needed to perform well in the javelin. The scary thing was, Suarez has throw 75 meters in the decathlon javelin-Hardee, up to this time had not been a good javelin thrower.

Trey Hardee took his first full run up of the season, and threw a ten meter personal best! His 68.99m throw started the competition. Suarez responded with a 69.12m throw, but could not go any further. " I was really excited for the first throw of the javelin, and it was great to score a big personal best. My coach was so excited he was almost crying. I took my lumps and moved on to the each event. I have to thank my coaching and medical staff and the University of Texas for helping me this year, this was the whole year."

That was the key for Trey Hardee, his 4:45.68 for the 1,500 meters gave him 645 points for a total of 8,607. " Knowing that it was done and I accomplished what I intended to accomplish, in a tough event. "

Ashton Eaton ran 4:18.94 for 819 points and a score of 8505. Five points separated Eaton from Leonel Suarez of Cuba, who scored 8501. In fourth, Aleksey Drozdov of Russia scored 8313. In fifth, Eelco Sintnicolaas of the Netherlands scored 8,298. In sixth, Mihail Dudas of Serbia set a NR of 8,256. In seventh, Pascal Behrenbruch of Germany scored 8,211. In eighth, Jan Felix Knobel of Germany scored 8,200. In ninth, Mikk Pahapill of Estonia scored 8,164, and in tenth, Larbi Bouraada of Algeria scored 8,158.

For Trey Hardee, defending the World Champs title from 2009 is huge.  The gold, silver medal wins for US is unprecedented. " I am happy that we are involved in the process. I want to do my best to preserve the ability of US dominance in the decathlon. As you age, you learn so much more about the decathlon." noted Hardee.

" We are getting a lot from young athletes, asking for notes and support, " noted Ashton Eaton.

"Not to get ahead of ourselves, it is a matter of health. The three of us making the team at the Olympic Trials. Honestly, if we are healthy at the Trials, we are making the team. If make the team (Clay, Hardee, Eaton), watch for us to take three medals."


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