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Team USA goes 1-2 in decathlon, triple jump

LONDON - Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee went 1-2 in the decathlon, and Christian Taylor and Will Claye did the same in the triple jump as Team USA added four more medals in track competition Thursday night. The U.S. medal tally now stands at 24.

Deca dominance

Eaton (Eugene, Ore.) and Hardee (Austin, Texas) were in first and second from the start of the competition, and they kept that consistency through the 10th and final event. Eaton won the gold with 8,863 points and Hardee had silver with 8,671points, marking the fifth time the U.S. has gone 1-2 in the decathlon. Hall of Famers Milt Campbell and Rafer Johnson were the last to accomplish the 1-2 feat, in 1956. Leonel Suarez of Cuba was third behind Eaton and Hardee, scoring 8,523 points.

In the final three events of the decathlon, Eaton took third in the pole vault as he cleared 6 progressions of the bar up to 5.20m/17-0.75 for 972 points. Satisfied that his clearance was enough to secure his spot in the lead, Eaton passed at taking any additional attempts. Hardee only attempted two heights in the pole vault and cleared 4.80m/15-9 on his second attempt for 849 points.

In the javelin, Hardee threw an impressive season best of 66.65m/218-8 only 11 months after undergoing surgery on his throwing elbow. Hardee’s mark was the second best of the field and good for 838 points. Eaton threw a personal best of 61.96m/203-3 for 767 points on his third attempts.

Closing out the two-day competition with the 1,500m, Eaton ran 4:33.59 for 721 points, and Hardee ran a personal best of 4:40.94 for 674 points.

Taylor, Claye jump into history

For the first time since 1996, Team USA went 1-2 in the men’s triple jump as Christian Taylor (Daytona Beach, Fla.) and Will Claye (Imperial Beach, Calif.) won gold and silver in their first Olympic Games. Claye’s runner up finish combined with his earlier long jump bronze makes him the first American man since 1904, and the first time since 1936 for any man to medal in both jumps at the same Olympics.

Claye was the early leader after barely foot-fouling his first attempt, and responding in round 2 with a mark of 17.54m/57-6.5 to put him into first. Taylor struggled early on as he fouled his first two jumps before putting in a “safety jump” of 17.15m/56-3.25 on his third throw to earn three more attempts. In the fourth round Taylor ripped a huge jump of 17.81m/58-5.25 to take a commanding lead, and Clay improved his best to 17.62m/57-9.75 to shore up his status in second place. Fabrizio Donato of Italy took home bronze with a mark of 17.48m/57-4.25.

Rudisha breaks another WR; Americans PR

Duane Solomon (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Nick Symmonds (Springfield, Ore.) had their roles in history in the fastest 800 meter race ever run. David Rudisha improved upon his own world record, storming to victory in 1:40.91 seconds to continue his dominance of the event. Solomon and Symmonds were sixth and eighth, respectively, at the bell and moved up to finish fourth (1:42.82) and fifth (1:42.95). The times were personal bests for both men and puts Solomon #2 and Symmonds #3 on the U.S. all-time list.

The race featured a world record, world junior record, two national records and seven personal bests. Nijel Amos of Botswana was second in 1:41.73 to set a world junior record and national record; Timothy Kitum of Kenya was third in a personal best of 1:42.53.

In the men’s 200m final, Wallace Spearmon (Dallas, Texas) came off the curve in fifth place and could not close the gap on the Jamaican trio of Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Warren Weir. Bolt galloped to victory in 19.32 seconds, with Blake second in 19.44 and Weir third in a personal best of 19.84. Spearmon was fourth in 19.90, a season best time.

Women’s relay powers into final

Running the second-fastest time in Olympic history (fastest time ever in the first round), the women of Team USA advanced to the final of the 4x100m with ease. With three smooth handoffs, the team of Tianna Madison (Sanford, Fla.), Jeneba Tarmoh (San Jose, Calif.) and Bianca Knight (Austin, Texas) passed the baton to anchor Lauryn Williams (Miami, Fla.) with a significant lead over the field. Lauryn powered down the final stretch to bring the team home in 41.64.

In Team USA’s only other event Thursday, women’s 800m semifinal, Alysia Montano’s (Canyon Country, Calif.) fourth-place finish in heat 2 in 1:58.42 made her the final time qualifier into the final. Alice Schmidt (Coronado, Calif.) was fourth in heat 1 in 2:01.63 and Geena Gall (Eugene, Ore.) was eighth in heat 3 in 2:05 76 and did not qualify.

Team USA Medal Count - 24 total
Gold (7)
Ashton Eaton (Eugene, Ore.), MDEC, 8,869
Christian Taylor (Daytona Beach, Fla.), MTJ, 17.81m/58-5.25
Brittney Reese (Gulfport, Miss.), WLJ, 7.12m/23-4.25
Aries Merritt (Bryan, Texas), M110H, 12.92
Allyson Felix (Santa Clarita, Calif.), W200, 21.88
Jenn Suhr (Churchville, N.Y.), WPV, 4.75/15-7
Sanya Richards-Ross (Austin, Texas), W400, 49.55

Silver (10)
Trey Hardee (Austin, Texas), MDEC, 8,671
Will Claye (Imperial Beach, Calif.), MTJ, 17.62m/57-9.75
Jason Richardson (Los Angeles, Calif.), M110H, 13.04
Lashinda Demus (Palmdale, Calif.), W400H, 52.77
Leo Manzano (Austin Texas), M1500, 3:34.79
Dawn Harper (Los Angeles, Calif.), W100H, 12.37
Erik Kynard (Manhattan, Kans.) MHJ, 2.33m/7-7.75
Michael Tinsley (Round Rock, Texas), M400H, 47.91
Carmelita Jeter (Gardena, Calif.), W100, 10.78
Galen Rupp (Portland, Ore.), M10,000m, 27:30.90

Bronze (7)
Janay DeLoach (Fort Collins, Colo.), WLJ, 6.89/22-7.25
Carmelita Jeter (Gardena, Calif.), W200, 22.14
Kellie Wells (Orlando, Fla.), W100H, 12.48
Justin Gatlin (Orlando, Fla.) M100, 9.79
DeeDee Trotter (Orlando, Fla.), W400, 49.72
Will Claye (San Diego, Calif.), MLJ, 8.12m/26-7.75
Reese Hoffa (Athens, Ga.), MSP, 21.23m/69-8

Athlete Quotes

Ashton Eaton, Decathlon: “The 1-2 finish was what we really, really wanted. There has been a really good history with the U.S. decathletes. This is the 100th year anniversary, and Trey and I are just doing my best to carry it on. It is hard for me because I understand I am young and it is hard to grasp, but the good things is I’ll get older and I can look back on it. For me I want ten perfect events. If I really felt like I was the world's greatest athlete, I would get ten perfect events. I know that is near impossible, but that is the tough part of the decathlon.

Trey Hardee, Decathlon: “I think as the days and weeks and months pass, Ashton and I will look back on this and realize how special this really is and what it really meant...This isn’t just another meet, this isn’t the Olympic Trials, this isn’t a World Championships, this is the Olympic Games, and representing the United States in that is bigger than you realize.”

Will Claye, Triple Jump: “It is awesome. Me and Christian have been going 1-2 for a long time. We have a brotherhood, and jumping against your brother, you go harder than you do with anyone else. It feels like it is just me and Christian out there sometimes, you know. It is an awesome rivalry, and we definitely push each other and help each other.”

Christian Taylor, Triple Jump: “There is just so much going on right now, but I am so blessed to share this moment with my family, my grandparents and so many people in the crowd right now. My coach Rana Reider and I have just worked tremendously hard, and to see this all come together at this time is a blessing.”

Alice Schmidt, 800m: “I got stuck in the middle of the pack, so unfortunately when things slowed down I was part of the train. It wasn’t the race I hoped or dreamed for, but it was definitely a very positive Olympic experience.”

Alysia Montano, 800m: “My coach talked to me about relaxing, and I think I relaxed too much. When they made a move on the backstretch it took me a second to respond, and when I did it wasn’t the energy to respond it was the fact that I was boxed and had to jump out. That energy was a total error and I had to make it up in the last 200m...I’m really thankful I get an opportunity to redeem myself.”

Geena Gall, 800m: “I’m just very blessed to be here. Unfortunately I had an injury a few weeks before the Olympics and it wasn’t in the cards.”

Duane Solomon, 800m: “I didn’t really expect it. I figured 1:43 would medal. Man, it’s crazy...That just shows you the talent we have and this is a great field. Rudisha showed that he is on another level and is the best in the world. It hurts a little bit because I was so close...

Nick Symmonds, 800m: “What an honor to be a part of a race with the best 800m runner ever. How do you even describe a race like that? I can’t be disappointed with a PR. I know I did everything I could. It’s not good enough for a medal but I can sleep tonight knowing I ran a PR. I feel invincible even though I don’t have a medal around my neck.”

Wallace Spearmon, 200m: “You have good days and bad days. It just wasn’t my day. Congrats to Bolt on a good race.”

Tianna Madison, 4x100m relay: “The mission was just to make it to the final and we did that. I’m just really happy...We’re off to a great start.”

Jeneba Tarmoh, 4x100m relay: “Make sure it’s (the baton) in your hand to finish. This is a golden opportunity for us.”

Bianca Knight, 4x100m relay: “Everything is great. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Lauryn Williams, 4x100m relay: “This was a golden opportunity for me. I’m so happy to get out there and help Team USA. I know that they are going to get gold tomorrow. All we have to do is get those sticks around the track. This is a great team we have together - add Allyson and Carmelita and you guys better be careful. Don’t blink, you might miss the race.”

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