It would take something truly special from rising U.S. decathlon star Ashton Eaton to overshadow the most shocking disqualification in American decathlon trials since the summer of "Dan and Dave." But Eaton proved capable of delivering that something special--and then some.
Eaton ran a personal-best 4:14.49 in the 1500 meters -- the 10th and final decathlon event -- to finish with 9,039 points at the U.S. Olympic Trials and break Czech Roman Sebrle's 2001 world record in the decathlon. One of the first people on the track to congratulate Eaton was Dan O'Brien, whose 20-year-old American record of 8,891 points Eaton shattered with relative ease.
The 24-year-old Oregon native is only the second athlete -- after Sebrle -- to crack the 9,000-point barrier and becomes a firm favorite to be crowned the "world's greatest athlete" at the London Games.
"Give me words," Eaton told an NBC interviewer immediately following the conclusion of the 1500. "I can't describe how this feels."
Eaton entered the 1500 needing a time of 4:16.37 to break Sebrle's record, a little more than 2.5 seconds better than his personal best. But after his previous performance over the two days of competition, it wasn't a shock to see Eaton pull it off--he had already set a pair of world decathlete records in the 100-meter dash and long jump on Day 1, and had won six of the first nine events.
“It's unbelievable," said defending Olympic gold medalist Bryan Clay. "I don't know if anyone has matured in the event as quickly as he did. It's mind-boggling.”
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