The decathlon is one of the most iconic events on the Olympic schedule. Matt Wisner wrote about the Tokyo 2020 decathlon and the amazing field that challenged for the three medals over two days and ten events!
Canada’s Damian Warner Wins Decathlon in New Olympic Record
By Matt Wisner
Canada’s Damian Warner won the Olympic gold in the decathlon with 9,018 points. Warner’s point total is an Olympic Record and he’s Canada’s first-ever Olympic champion in the event. Warner became one of only four decathletes in history to pass the 9,000 point mark.
Warner won three of the 10 events: the 100 meters, the long jump, and the 110-meter hurdles. The 100 meters is the first event of the decathlon, and the long jump comes second. Warner was in first place throughout the entire competition.
Tokyo was Warner’s third Olympics. He placed third in Rio in 2016. Warner entered the meet as the world leader. He scored 8,995 points at a meet in Austria in May.
Warner is certainly an explosive athlete; his biggest strengths are sprints and horizontal jumps. But that type of decathlete often has an alarming liability when it comes to the throws or the 1500 meters. That’s not the case for Warner. His strength comes from his lack of glaring weak events. The lowest he placed in a single event was 11th, which happened in both the pole vault and the shot put.
Warner also set the Olympic Record for the decathlon 110 hurdles. He ran 13.46 seconds, a hundredth of a second faster than the previous Olympic Record.
Warner told the press that he wrote about his dream of becoming an Olympian in a school project when he was in sixth grade. “Who would have known that I would be an Olympic gold medallist,” Warner said.
Kevin Mayer, of France, finished in second place with 8,726 points. His strength was also consistency; he finished in the top 3 of four separate events. He placed as low as 18th, though, which happened in the 400—one of only two events in which he placed outside of the top 10.
Ashley Moloney, of Australia, placed third overall with 8,649 points. Moloney won the high jump but placed 17th in the javelin throw.
Three Americans competed in the decathlon in Tokyo: Garrett Scantling (fourth with 8,611 points), Zach Ziemek (sixth with 8,435 points), and Steven Bastien (10th with 8,236 points).
Sixteen of the 23 athletes in the field scored over 8,000 points. There were only two personal bests. Only eight athletes eclipsed the standard that was required for qualification to the meet: 8,350 points.
There’s an image of the decathletes after the 1500, collapsed on the track, laying down, arms over their heads. Fittingly, only Damian Warner is standing.