Many expected that an American would win the decathlon gold at the 2009 World Championships. But the expected favorite was 2008 Olympic gold medalist Bryan Clay
. But when Clay missed the 2009 U.S. Championships due to injury it was Trey Hardee who stepped up and won the U.S. title and then the world championship.
Hardee scored personal bests in the long jump and shot put to take an early lead at the World Championships in Berlin, but had to settle for a close third place after one day, as his 4511 points trailed Ukraine’s Aleksiy Kasyanov by 44. But Hardee took charge quickly on day two, regaining the lead in the 110 hurdles and all but clinching his victory with a personal best javelin throw. Hardee finished with a personal best and 2009 world-leading 8790 points, beating Cuba’s Leonel Suarez by 150 points.
Road to the decathlon:
Hardee took an unusual path to the decathlon event. He favored basketball in high school, joining the track and field team only after failing to make the basketball varsity squad in his junior year. He was then recruited to Mississippi State as a pole vaulter before his combination of size and speed caused his coaches to point Hardee toward the decathlon and the indoor heptathlon. Ironically, it was his no-height in the pole vault at the 2008 Olympics that cost the then-fourth place Hardee a chance to bid for a medal.
Hardee transferred to Texas after Mississippi State dropped its indoor track and field program. Hardee won the 2005 NCAA decathlon championship for Texas after finishing second for Mississippi State in 2004. He set the NCAA decathlon record with a then-personal best 8,465 points in 2006. He was third in the NCAA heptathlon final in 2005.
- Height: 6-5
- Weight: 210
- Birth date: Feb. 7, 1984
- Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama
- Personal best: 8790 points