Host City: Beijing, China
Venue(s): Beijing National Stadium, Beijing
Date Started: August 21, 2008
Date Finished: August 22, 2008
Format: Scoring by 1985 point tables.
The two best decathletes since 2004 had been Czech star Roman Šebrle and American Bryan Clay. They had taken turns since that time winning the major meets, and at Athina in 2004, Šebrle had won the gold and Clay the silver. They reversed that finish at the 2005 World Championships but in 2007, Šebrle returned to win the Worlds, as Clay was nursing an injury most of that year. At the major invitational, in Götzis, Austria, Clay won in 2006, ending the streak of Šebrle, who had won from 2001-2005. But going into Beijing Clay was favored, partly because Šebrle was at less than his best from injuries, and partly because he had been outstanding at the US Olympic Trials, which he won easily. The first day of the decathlon was difficult, with intermittent rains, which at times became a downpour. Clay won the first event, the 100, in the rain, and also won the long jump, taking a solid lead. When he set a personal best of 16.27 (53-4½) in the shot put, he seemed to be on his way to the gold medal, and was on world record pace. But he jumped poorly in the high jump, and had only a mediocre 400, and he had let the field back in the chase and obviated any chance of a world record. After five events, Šebrle was in fifth, with Clay leading Belarussian Andrey Kravchenko by 89 points. On the second day, Clay ran 13.93 in the hurdles and in one of his best events, the discus, nailed it with 53.79 (176-5¾), to secure the gold medal if he could finish. When he made a height in the pole vault, the gold medal was his. Kravchenko was in second after the vault and javelin and held on in the 1,500 with 4:27.47 to get silver. Cuba’s Lionel Suárez was a surprising third, moving up from sixth place after the first day. Šebrle never factored for a medal, placing sixth. Clay struggled thru the 1,500, running 5:06.59 but won gold by 240 points.
|1||Bryan Clay||28||United States||USA||Gold||8.791|
|6||Roman Šebrle||33||Czech Republic||CZE||8.241|
|21||Daniel Awde||20||Great Britain||GBR||7.516|
|AC||Trey Hardee||24||United States||USA||DNF|
|AC||Hans Van Alphen||26||Belgium||BEL||DNF|
|AC||Tom Pappas||31||United States||USA||DNF|