Friday was the opening day of the 2012 U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials, so as a busy Saturday gets underway in Eugene, here's what you need to know from the Day 1 results:
Ashton Eaton is your London gold-medal favorite in the decathlon. On the one hand, that feels like an overreaction to one good day of performance from the 24-year-old Oregon native. On the other, "good" doesn't really begin to describe Eaton's Friday, which began with a new world record in the decathlon 100-meter dash (10.21 seconds) and ended with a personal day one points record of 4,728--only 10 points (a fraction of a second in the dash, or an inch or two in the long jump or shotput) short of Dan O'Brien's day one world record. In-between, Eaton also set a decathlon world record in the long jump of 27 feet -- the second-best outdoor jump by any American this year -- and opened up a 322-point lead on second-place Trey Hardee. Oh, and did we mention each of the records he broke had stood since 1996, and that he accomplished them in a steady rain and soggy conditions?
“What you witnessed today is a culmination of everyone that has supported me and got me to this point, and me fiercely trying not to let them down,” Eaton told the Eugene Register-Guard. “I'm competing well, 100 percent healthy, and ready for tomorrow.”
Though we're only through five events so far with five more to come Saturday, it appears Eaton is ready for much more than that.
Lolo Jones will be fortunate just to make it to London. We mentioned Friday that for all of her recent celebrity, Jones's 2012 performance-to-date suggested she had her work cut out for her just to qualify for the Games, much less medal once she got there. She did nothing to change that view in her initial heat of the 100-meter hurdles, running a sodden 13.01 that placed her third in her heat and 15th overall heading into Saturday afternoon's semifinals.
“It felt really good, but it was a bad race," she said. "It was a bad start. I relaxed after [another competitor's] false start.”
The finals are set for Saturday night. At this point Jones may not even be a lock to make it that far.
Galen Rupp will get his shot in the 10,000. The U.S.'s best hope in the long-distance events ran like it Friday, convincingly winning the 10,000 meters in a U.S. Trials record time of 27:25.33--again, breaking that eight-year-old record despite a heavy rainfall throughout the race. The men's 10,000 meters was the first final run in the Trials, making Rupp the first track athlete to officially qualify for the Games.
Matt Tegankamp finished second in 27:33.94 and Rupp club teammate Dathan Ritzenhein third in 27:36.09. With Ritzenhein's time eclipsing the Olympic "A" standard of 27:45, all three will make the trip to London. In the women's 10,000, Amy Hastings took first with a time of 31:58.36, followed by Natosha Rogers in second and Shalene Flanagan in third. But with Rogers falling short of the "A" standard and Flanagan expected to run the marathon, the Olympic berths will instead go to Lisa Uhl (fourth) and Janet Cherobon-Bawcom (seventh), who have run the "A" standard this season.
Etc. The trials officially began Thursday with the hammer throw at the Nike campus in Beaverton, Ore., some 100 miles from Eugene. San Franciso native Kibwe Johnson won the men's competition and will go to London for his first Olympics alongside third-place finisher A.G. Kruger. The top three women -- Amber Campbell, who set a meet record at 71.8 meters, UNLV surprise Amanda Bingson, and Jessica Cosby -- have met the "A" standard and qualify for the Games ... There were no surprises in the women's 100-meter dash preliminaries, with favorites Carmelita Jeter and Allyson Felix coasting through their heats ... Reigning Olympic 400-meter gold medalist LaShawn Merritt ran the fastest time in the 400 preliminaries, a 45.36. Three-time Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Wariner placed 13th but qualified for the semifinals ... women's 400-meter favorite Sanya-Richards-Ross had no problems qualifying out of her heat ... the women's pole vault preliminaries were cancelled due to the rain.