Gold and a new WR for Ashton

Ashton Eaton in the decathlon at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (AFP / Getty Images)



It was never going to be easy – world records never are – but Ashton Eaton had decided that three years and two months was long enough for his mark of 9039 to stand.

A 5.20m clearance in the pole vault meant that the world record was going to be difficult, but a 63.63m throw in the javelin made his task slightly easier.

A clocking of 4:18.25 in the final event, the 1500m, was needed for the record, but that was a time he had only once before achieved.

The 27-year-old was outside the required pace for the first 400m, but he moved closer to the front after seeing the first-lap split of 1:09.34 from Germany’s Michael Schrader.

Algeria’s Larbi Bourrada then took up the lead and passed 800m in 2:21.56 with Eaton close behind. But there was still ground to make up.

As he approached the final lap, Eaton appeared to have already given it all he had. He needed a 63-second last lap to achieve his target, so – from somewhere – he found an extra gear.

With Bourrada away and clear, Eaton charged down the home straight and crossed the line in 4:17.52, some 0.73 quicker than the time he needed. The world record* now stands at 9045, six points more than his previous mark, and thanks to the support of IAAF partner TDK, earned him a world record bonus of US $100,000.

The US all-rounder won his second successive world title in the decathlon and has now won six consecutive global titles, indoors and outdoors, since 2012.

Eaton also became the first athlete since Jurgen Hingsen in the 1980s to set two successive world records in the decathlon. And he is the first decathlete to set a world record at the IAAF World Championships.

Canada’s Damian Warner just missed the 8700-point barrier, but ended his series with a 4:31.51 clocking in the 1500m to bring his score to 8695, improving the Canadian record for the second time in just five weeks. It was also the second successive World Championships medal for the 25-year-old, who finished third in Moscow in 2013.

As anticipated, Germany’s Rico Freimuth’s advantage over the other medal contenders was too much and the 27-year-old held on to bronze, taking his first major medal with a 8561 PB after running 4:37.05 in the 1500m.

Russia’s Ilya Shkurenev ran an inspired 1500m in 4:24.98, but the gap to Freimuth was too big and he placed fourth with a PB of 8538.

Bourrada, the 1500m winner in 4:16.61, was fifth with an African record of 8461 in his first decathlon of the season.

Germany’s Kai Kazmirek, the Gotzis winner earlier this season, was sixth with 8448. Schrader, the 2013 silver medallist, was seventh with 8418.

Grenada’s Kurt Felix set a national record of 8302 in eighth place. For the first time in World Championships history, seven men scored in excess of 8400 points.

Ashton Eaton with his decathlon world record figures at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

What Happened Day 8 (Aug. 28 evening - Aug. 29 morning): Ashton Eaton broke his own world record in the decathlon, while a trio of Ducks won silver in the 4x100 meter relay.

After a first day where he set two decathlon event records, Ashton Eaton took down his own world record with an impressive performance over the final two events to finish with 9,045 points, six points better than his 9,039 from the 2012 Olympic Trials.

Eaton began the second day of the decathlon in prime position to break the world record and moved within 23 points of his 2012 pace after the 110 meter hurdles, where he finished with a time of 13.69 just behind his chief rival at this championship, Canada’s Damian Warner. He chipped away at the record again during the discus, where he launched a 142-2 (43.34m) throw on his second attempt and moved within 13 points of the record pace, leading the field by 131 points.

Eaton finished the pole vault by clearing 17-0.75 (5.20m) and needed a solid performance in the javelin to remain on track for the record. He responded right away with a 208-9 (63.63m) first throw, the third-best of his career, to move ahead of his 2012 performance by 27 points and providing a cushion heading into the day’s final event.

Needing to run 4:18.25 to break his world record, Eaton paced himself conservatively through the first half of the race. With 400 meters to go, he quickened his pace and moved into the lead with less than 100 meters left. Crossing the line in 4:17.52, he surpassed his world record by six points and defended his World Championship title by 350 points over Warner, who won silver.

Only 27, Eaton, "the World's Greatest Athlete," is making a case to add "of all time" to that moniker. He joined Great Britain’s Daley Thompson and fellow American Dan O’Brien as the only men to win at least three global decathlon titles (Olympics or IAAF World).

According to, in 2016, Eaton can join Thompson and Bob Mathias of the United State as the only men to win multiple Olympic decathlons, as well as tie O’Brien for the most combined Olympic and World titles at four.

Eaton's wife, fellow UO alum Brianne Theisen-Eaton, won the silver medal in the heptathlon for Canada earlier at the World Championships.

Saturday morning saw another feat almost as rare as Eaton's record when a current UO undergraduate, Jasmine Todd, won a medal win the relays.

It took the second-fastest time in history to overtake the United States’ 4x100 meter relay team, a quartet that included all three Ducks that qualified to the final of the U.S. 100 meter championships in June. In a rare move, the U.S. team ran the same four in the semifinals as the finals, where English Gardner, Jenna Prandini and Todd ran with legendary American sprinter Allyson Felix.

During the semifinals, the team comfortably won their heat in 42.00, the day’s second-fastest qualifying time behind heat one winner Jamaica. In the final, running in the same order as earlier in the day, Gardner handed off to Felix on the backstretch. Prandini, running third round the curve as she did throughout the 2015 collegiate season for the Ducks, moved the U.S. team from third to second and handed off to teammate Todd, who brought the team across the line in the silver medal position in 41.68.

It is the first time in Oregon history that three Ducks, and teammates during the 2013 season at Oregon (Todd redshirted), combined on a relay at the World Championships.

Also Saturday, Galen Rupp ran towards the front  of the field through a tactical and very slow first half of the 5,000 meter final. Running in a near-jog for most of the race, the leaders passed through the mile in 4:48 before closing hard with 1,200 meters to go. Rupp was in good position heading into the final lap but was unable to summon the closing speed of the medalists and faded to fifth in 13:53.90, his best finish in the 5,000 meters at a World Championships or Olympics. Rupp’s training partner Mo Farah won gold in 13:50.38 and completed his third straight 5,000 and 10,000 meter sweep at a global championship, a record that started with his wins at the 2012 Olympics.

Friday evening, Phyllis Francis took the United States’ 4x400 meter relay team, the gold medal favorites in this event, to the lead at the start, running a 51.3 split that was the fastest first leg in field. She passed the baton to Jessica Beard with a 10 meter lead, and the U.S. went unchallenged on their way to a 3:23.05 finish to automatically advance to Sunday’s final. A change in the relay’s line-up is almost expected headed into the final, where 400 meter World Champion Allyson Felix would be likely to replace one of the semifinal runners who won yesterday’s heat.

What To Look For Day 9 (Aug 30 morning): Matthew Centrowitz qualified to the 1,500 meters final with ease but will now face one of the most accomplished fields in history as he makes his bid for his third-straight World Championship medal Sunday morning (4:45 a.m. PT). The winner of a bronze medal in 2011 as a student at the University of Oregon and a silver medal in 2013 as a member of Nike’s Oregon Project, Centrowitz has made it clear that this year’s goal is atop the podium. He has set personal bests this year at both 800 and 1500 meters in preparation, the latter placed him as the third-fastest American of all-time.

He will face a field that features Kenya’s legendary two-time defending champion Asbel Kiprop, who has run the fastest time in the world this year. All three medalists from the 2012 Olympic final have qualified through the rounds, most notably Algeria’s champion Taoufik Makhloufi. Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano and the fast-closing Robby Andrews will join Centrotwitz in a final that includes three Americans for the first time since 2009.

Francis will conclude the Championships for the Ducks when she is expected to take to the track on a leg of the United States’ 4x400 meter relay squad at 5:05 a.m. PT Sunday. Francis placed seventh in the 400 meter final in an outdoor personal best 50.50 earlier in the championships. She ran lead-off legs in both the semifinal rounds Friday and also at the World Relays Championships in May, where the U.S. team won gold in a world-leading 3:19.39. The U.S. team has won six gold medals in this event, including three-straight from 2007 to 2011, and looks to return to the top of the podium after placing second in 2013.

The team will face tough competition from Jamaica, who qualified four runners to the 400 meter final and finished as the runners-up to the U.S. at World Relays. The defending champion Russia and and Great Britain, with the fast-closing anchor from former World Champion Christine Ohuruogu, will likely challenge for medals.