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Rifat Artikov of Uzbekistan won the first heat with a time of 14.74 seconds; Germany's Jan Felix Knobel (15.03) and Latvia's Edgars Erins (15.22) rounded out the top three.
In Heat 2 it was South Africa's Willem Coertzen who blew away the competition with a 14.15. He was followed by Cuba's Yordani Garcia (14.24) and Leonel Suarez (14.45).
Heat 3 was owned by Ukraine's Oleksiy Kasyanov, who won with a time of 14.09—a personal best. Belarus' Eduard Mikhan was second (14.15), and Germany's Pascal Behrenbruch (14.33) finished third.
The fourth and final heat was by far the best, where the top two times of the day were posted. Americans Trey Hardee (13.54) and Ashton Eaton (13.56) finished first and second, respectively, with Germany's Rico Freimuth (13.89) finishing third.
Freimuth made up for a poor hurdle showing by winning the discus throw with a 49.11 meter toss. Belgium's Hans van Alphen was a distant second with a 48.28 toss.
USA's Hardee (48.26), Russia's Sergey Sviridov (47.43) and Ukraine's Kasyanov (46.72) rounded out the top five.
This was another strong performance from Eaton, who registered a jump of 5.20 meters—good enough for third place. Hardee registered a ninth-place finish (4.80).
Chile's Gonzalo Barroilhet won the event with a 5.40.
Eaton had the ninth-best javelin throw (61.96), while American teammate Hardee had the third-best (66.65).
Cuba's Suarez led the way with a 76.94 toss.
Tough sledding for the Americans, as Eaton finished seventh (4 minutes, 33.59 seconds) and Hardee finished 18th (4:40.94).
Belgium's van Alphen won the event by blowing away the competition with a time of 4:22.50.
The Americans didn't finish strong in the 1,500 race, but it was Eaton (8,869 total points) and Hardee (8,671) who stood at the top of the podium with gold and silver medals draped around their necks.
Cuba's Suarez (8,523) finished in third in what was one of the most hard-earned medals throughout the entire Olympics.