LONDON -- Ashton Eaton is more concerned with getting an Olympic medal in the decathlon than breaking his world record. But how about both?

The 24-year-old American broke Bill Toomey's 44-year-old Olympic decathlon record in the 100-meter dash and built a 220-point lead over teammate Trey Hardee after the first day of the 10-event competition.

Eaton started by running the 100 in 10.35 seconds, just 0.14 off his time at the trials but beating Toomey's 10.41 at Mexico City in 1968.

He followed that up with the top performance in the long jump and was 11th in the shot put. He high jumped 6-foot-8 3/4, and ended Day 1 by running the 400 meters in 46.90

Eaton's first-day score was 4,661 points -- a good start toward the world record of 9,039 points he set at the U.S. trials in June. Hardee has 4,441 points and Canada's Damian Warner sits in third with 4,386 points.

The decathletes will contest the 110 hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500 meters on Thursday.

It helps Eaton and Hardee that the last two gold medalists are out.

Defending champion Bryan Clay failed to make the U.S. team, and Sebrle, who won in Athens eight years ago, dropped out after the 100 because of a right heel injury. It was hardly the ending the 37-year-old Roman Sebrle -- the former world record-holder -- envisioned for his last Olympics.

"My imagination of saying goodbye to the Olympics was another way," Sebrle said.


Advertisement

Still, he pronounced himself satisfied with a storied career in which he held the world record for more than a decade.

And satisfied that the sport is left in capable hands with competitors such as Eaton. Sebrle was impressed with Eaton's performance at the trials, even more so because much of the competition was in a steady rain.

"He's amazing," Sebrle said. "It's unbelievable. I think he will make more points than 9,039. But not today. Not at the Olympics."

Eaton, of Eugene, Ore., conceded as much in the build-up to London. He wasn't interested in breaking his mark anyway, just earning a spot on the podium.

However, the Olympic mark is definitely within reach. Sebrle owns that record, 8,893 points in Athens.

Eaton's toughest competition may be from Hardee, who's coming off reconstructive surgery last September to repair a ligament he blew out while throwing the javelin at the World Championships last summer. The injury happened on his final throw, a personal best that locked up his second straight world decathlon title.

The Americans are looking for their first 1-2 finish in the decathlon since Milton Gray Campbell and Rafer Johnson in 1956.