Trey Hardee peaked at the wrong time.
Is Eaton a lock for decathlon gold?
Ashton Eaton, the decathlon world-record holder, is a heavy favorite to win the event over his Team USA competitor at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, and deservedly so. At the U.S. trials, Eaton shattered a record that had held for over a decade.
The man who previously set it, Roman Sebrle, is a fan of Eaton. The Associated Press reported that the Czech believes Eaton will eventually break the record again.
“He's amazing, It's unbelievable. I think he will make more points than 9,039. But not today. Not at the Olympics,” Sebrle said (via USA Today).
Through four events, Eaton boasts a score of 3,698 points. He sits at the top of the leaderboard, 161 points above Hardee.
Hardee, the 2009 and 2011 World Championship decathlon winner, isn’t impressed with Eaton’s hot start, though.
"It doesn't mean anything now, just like it doesn't mean anything after the first event. It's all about leading into that 10th event and what it looks like when you cross the line. We're not trying to get ahead of ourselves," Hardee said (via USA Today).
Hardee held the title as the best decathlete in the world for three years. But he did it during the three years in which the common man didn’t pay attention to the decathlon.
People remember Sebrle, the gold medalist in Athens. They remember Brian Clay, who won gold in Beijing.
Hardee didn’t even medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
The following year, he took over the decathlon world, but in London, he isn’t the top dog anymore. Eaton is.
Eaton boasts three world records in individual decathlon events, including the 100-meter, long jump and 100-meter hurdles. Hardee doesn’t have one.
Throw in the fact that Hardee's personal best, a score of 8,790, isn't remotely close to Eaton's 9,039, and Eaton vs. Hardee is simply a mismatch that the former champ won’t be able to overcome.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.