USA

Ashlee Moore jumps up the leaderboards after winning heptathlon long jump

Ashlee Moore didn’t finish out day one in strong fashion. Ranking 11th heading into the heptathlon long jump, Moore faced an uphill battle to get back into the mix.

She conquered that challenge however, in her first event on day two.

Moore not only won the heptathlon long jump against strong head winds, but she also recorded a new personal best distance of 5.86 meters, up 0.06 meters from her previous record. Since placing second in the women’s 100 meter hurdles to begin the competition, Moore has revived her medal hopes after struggling in the shot put and 200 meters.

With 4138 points through four events, Moore now ranks in sixth place. Currently atop of the rankings are Great Britain’s Morgan Lake (4640), Netherlands’ Nadine Vesser (4498) and Cuba’s Yorgelis Rodríguez (4469).

Moore will continue this afternoon with Group B in the javelin throw heptathlon at 2:50 p.m. PST. The heptathlon will conclude with the 800 meters at 7:10 p.m. PST.

Follow Hayden Kim on Twitter @HayDayKim

Ashton Eaton, The World’s Greatest Athlete, Wins Gold in Olympic Decathlon

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LONDON – On Thursday night in London, Ashton Eaton officially became the greatest athlete in the world, winning a gold medal in the decathlon. Eaton’s 8,869 point performance was just 25 points shy of a new Olympic record in the event. After the event, Eaton was hesitant to accept the title he had rightfully earned.

“For me, I want 10 perfect events,” said Eaton. “If I really felt like I was the world’s greatest athlete, I’d get 10 great events. But I know that’s pretty much not possible. That’s the toughness of the decathlon.”

Eaton started off the day on the right foot, running a seasonal best 13.56 seconds in the 110 meter hurdles, finishing second behind teammate Trey Hardee, who won the event in 13.54 seconds, a new lifetime best.

Eaton celebrates after his Olympic gold medal (Seskim/WENN.com)

Then it was back to the field events, where Eaton, who is built more like a 400 meter or 800 meter runner, struggled as he finished last in his group in the discus throw with a mark of 42.53 meters. Eaton bounced back nicely in the pole vault competition, finishing third in his group with a mark of 5.20 meters. In the javelin, Eaton threw a lifetime best of 61.96 meters to put him in position for the gold going into the final event.

While Eaton’s performance through nine events was good enough to put him in position for the gold medal, it would take a miraculous performance in the 1500 meters for Eaton to break his own world record of 9,039 points, which he had set back in June at the Olympic Trials in Eugene. Eaton would need to shave six seconds off his lifetime best of 4:14 for the world record. Rather than go after the record, Eaton went after the gold, running a very conservative 4:33.59 to lock his place on top of the medal stand.

“I’m satisfied,” said Eaton.

Hardee would join Eaton on the medal stand, earning himself a silver medal thanks to a seasonal best performance with 8,671 points. It is the first time Americans finished first and second in the event since Milton Gray Campbell and Rafer Johnson in 1956.

“That’s what Trey and I really, really wanted,” said Eaton.

This Olympic decathlon was a passing of the torch in some sense with Eaton winning gold. Before this year, it was Hardee who was the top American decathlete, winning gold medals at the World Championships in both 2009 and 2011. Now, it’s Eaton’s turn at the top of the mountain.

Ashton Eaton (left) and Trey Hardee (right) embrace after both finishing with medals in the decathlon (AFP/Olivier Morin)

“It’s safe to say my reign is over,” said Hardee. “I still think my best decathlon is ahead of me, but Ashton’s are, too.”

Eaton also got the approval of the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt, who was impressed with Eaton’s performance.

“I’m a great athlete, but to do 10 events, especially the 1,500 — I’ve got to give it to him,” Bolt said.

Now, as the decathlon has come to an end, Ducks fans will shift their attention back to Galen Rupp in the 5,000 meter final. Rupp is coming off a miraculous performance in the 10,000 meters where he won the silver medal, becoming the first American to medal in the event in nearly half a century. Stay tuned for continued coverage of our Oregon athletes in London.

Eaton, Rupp Turn in Record Performances at Olympic Trials

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Eaton, a former Oregon Ducks track & field star and local athlete, competes in numerous events including the shot put (Photo credit: Mike Blake/Reuters)

The day started off with the 100 meter race for the decathlon. In heat one, Ryan Harlan finished first with a time of 11.26 seconds. The winner of heat two was Curtis Beach, crossing the line in 10.88 seconds. Heat three featured local favorite Ashton Eaton of OTC Elite and 2008 Olympic decathlon champion Brian Clay of ASICS, who has never lost an Olympic trials. Eaton exploded off the blocks for a world record 100 meter decathlon time of 10.21 seconds, even with a steady drizzle falling at Hayward Field. Clay finished second in 10.45 seconds.

Ashton Eaton followed up his world record performance in the 100 meter race with another world record in the long jump. Eaton soared through the air for a jump of 8.23 meters (27 feet), the longest jump in the history of the decathlon. Eaton’s previous best jump was just one centimeter shorter. Brian Clay jumped 7.40 meters, good enough for fourth place in the first round, and sixth place overall for the event.

The first round of the men’s 400 meters got underway Friday afternoon at Hayward Field. Nike’s LaShawn Merritt had the fastest time of all heats, winning heat one in 45.36 seconds. Oregon school record holder Mike Berry finished sixth in his respective heat in 46.29 seconds, missing the cut two advance by two tenths of a second.

In the women’s side of the 400, Francena McCorory had the fastest time out of the four heats, winning her respective race in 51.11 seconds. Also in McCorory’s heat was Oregon’s Phyllis Francis, who surged on the homestretch into third place to automatically advance with a time of 52.82 seconds. Former Duck Keshia Baker, now running for Saucony, finished second in the third heat with a time of 52.02 seconds to advance to the next round.

“All I wanted to do was qualify,” said Francis. “I was a little nervous, but I tried not to stress too much. I could have run faster, but I’m proud of myself.”

Baker dons an American flag after a successful run in the trials.

Molly Beckwith of Saucony had the fastest time in any heat of the women’s 800 on Friday, winning her heat in 2:00.61. Oregon’s Laura Roesler surged into third in her race to automatically advance as she finished her heat in 2:03.11.

“I felt really good,” said Roesler. “I definitely had a smile on my face and I came here to do what I did, so I am happy.”

Tyler Mulder and Nick Symmonds of OTC Elite had the fastest and third fastest qualifying times respectively. Mulder won his heat in 1:46.81, while Symmonds won his heat in 1:46.94. Oregon’s Elijah Greer had a strong second place finish in his respective heat, crossing the line in 1:47.42 to advance.

“At 300 meters I made a move and finished second,” said Greer. “I made a lot of bad moves, accelerations weren’t needed. Tomorrow, I don’t want to make the same mistakes. The last 200 meters was perfect energy for that round.”

In the women’s 100, Oregon’s English Gardner finished third in her heat in 11.27 to automatically advance to the next round of heats. Tianna Madison of Saucony ran her way to the fastest qualifying time of the day, winning her heat in 11.10 seconds. Gardner used the support of the hometown fans to her advantage.

“I love my home crowd,” said Gardner. “They keep me going. I thank God every day for my fan base at University of Oregon.”

Ashton Eaton continued his dominating day in the 400 meter portion of the decathlon, winning the third heat in 46.70, over a full second ahead of second place. Eaton’s time was the fastest of all heats. The 400 was the final decathlon event of the day as Eaton wrapped up the day with 4,728 points, 17 points ahead of American record pace. On Saturday, Eaton will attempt to take down the American decathlon record of 8,891 points, currently held by Dan O’Brien, a record that has stood since 1992. Eaton will also go after the world record, of 9,026 points, held by Roman Serble. That record has stood since 2001.

“What you’re seeing is a culmination of everyone who supported me,” said Eaton. “I just do not want to let anyone down.”

The men’s 10,000 meter final featured one of the most dominating performances ever, as all three of the qualifiers beat the former Olympic trials record of 27:36.49 seconds. Former Oregon star Galen Rupp used a 4:14 final mile to win in 27:25.33, a new trials record by over ten seconds. OTC Elite’s Matt Tegenkamp finished second in 27:33.94 while Nike’s Dathan Ritzenhein claimed the final spot on the 10,000 Olympic team in 27:36.09. Ritzenhein had not yet reached the Olympic A standard of 27:45, but ran a strategic race with Rupp, a teammate of his at Nike, to easily reach that standard.

Rupp celebrates after coming in first place in the men’s 10,000 meter race (Photo credit: Eric Gay/AP)

“Im extremely blessed,” said Rupp. “I feel like the luckiest guy on earth.”

During the race, the runners were drenched with some summer rain, but that didn’t stop Rupp.

“I wasn’t worried about it,” said Rupp. “I grew up with it and I love running in it. Regardless of the weather, you have to go out and compete.”

The women’s 10K featured a much more down to the wire finish. Leading for much of the way, it was Amy Hastings to cross the line first in 31:58.36 to earn her spot on Team USA. Natosha Rodgers of Texas A&M finished second in a personal-best 31:59.21 while Shalane Flanagan rounded out the top three with a 31:59.69 finish. Flanagan, who already had a ticket punched to London after winning the marathon trials back in January in Houston, has said she will only run the marathon in London. Rogers does not have the Olympic A standard of 31:45, so she will not be on the team despite finishing in the top three. In place of Flanagan and Johnson on the Olympic team will be Lisa Uhl, who finished fourth in 32:03.46 and seventh-place finisher Janet Bawcom (32:17.06). Uhl and Bawcom were the next two finishers that had previously achieved the Olympic A standard.

“I am just so excited that I can’t even express it,” said Bawcom. “I am so happy to be here and to be apart of a great team.”

The action picks back up tomorrow starting at 9:30 am with the continuation of the decathlon. Tomorrows finals include the women’s 100 meter hurdles and women’s 100 meter race.