Ashton Eaton might’ve been the most disappointed-looking world champion we’ll ever see, after wrapping up the heptathlon gold medal at the 2014 World Indoor Championships. Eaton needed to run 2:33.54 in the final heptathlon event, the 1,000 meters, to break his indoor world record of 6,645 points. Eaton dropped behind the required pace and rallied furiously during the last lap but fell short, posting a time of 2:34.72. He gained 933 points for a total of 6,632, the second-best score in history, just 13 short of his 2012 world mark. Still, Eaton won his second consecutive World Indoor heptathlon gold by a huge 329 points, ahead of Andrey Krauchanka of Belarus at 6,303 and Thomas van der Plaetsen of Belgium at 6,259. The silver and bronze medalists both set national indoor records.
Eaton began the heptathlon competition as expected to be, moving comfortably to the top of the standings on the first day of competition. Eaton led all eight competitors in both the 60 meters (running a personal best 6.66 seconds) and the long jump (leaping 7.78 meters, or 25 feet 6¼ inches) to finish the morning session with 2,012 points, which was 48 points behind his world-record pace. Ukraine’s Oleksiy Kasyanov was second overall at 1,870, followed by Canada’s Damian Warner at 1,861.
Ashton Eaton improved to 3,653 points at the end of the first day, moving within a single point of his 2012 pace after four events. Eaton threw the shot 14.88/48-9¾ – fourth overall – and cleared 2.06/6-9 in the high jump, good for third overall. But the big story of the afternoon session was Krauchanka, who was second overall in the shot (15.42/50-7) and first in the high jump (2.21/7-3, a World Indoor Championship heptathlon record) to finish the day with 3,583 points. Kasyanov sat in third with 3,516 points.
Eaton essentially wrapped up the heptathlon title during the next day’s early session, leaving only the question of whether he’d break his own indoor world record. Eaton led all eight competitors in the fifth event, the 60-meter hurdles, finishing in 7.64 seconds to earn 1,074 points. He tied for second in the pole vault, clearing 5.20/17 feet-¾ on his third attempt to score 972 points, for a total of 5,699. Krauchanka of Belarus was second in the standings prior to the 1000 meters with 5,450 points while van der Plaetsen sat in third with 5,391.
American Ryan Whiting won a stirring duel with Germany’s David Storl in the shot put, repeating the scenario from the 2012 World Indoor Championships, in which Whiting earned the gold medal and Storl took the bronze. The defending champion led after his first throw, which reached 20.89/68-6¼, before Storl answered with his first-round attempt of 21.35/70-½. Whiting threw 21.47/70-5¼ in the second round but Storl, the two-time outdoor World champion, reached 21.79/71-5¾ to maintain the lead. After both throwers fouled in round three, Whiting found more distance in the fourth round, tossing the shot 22.05/72-4. Storl had no more responses and had to settle for the silver. New Zealand’s Tomas Walsh set two Oceania records in the final two rounds, topping out at 21.26/69-9 to gain the bronze and edge Polish home-crowd favorite Tomasz Majewski (21.04/69-¼). Bugaria’s Georgi Ivanov took fifth with a national record 21.02/68-11½.
Earlier in the day, three competitors topped the automatic qualifying mark of 20.70/67-11 to reach the final. Storl took three attempts to reach 21.24/69-8, Whiting needed just one try to throw 20.75/68-1 and German Lauro of Argentina reached 20.73/68-0 on his second try. Non-qualifiers include American Kurt Roberts.
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