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American Ashton Eaton ties record, wins decathlon again

Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO — Ashton Eaton retained his title by tying the Olympic record in the decathlon, Ryan Crouser led an American one-two in the shot put with a new games record, and Kerron Clement delivered another gold for the United States in the 400 hurdles.

The “awesome hour” of the night before had evolved into a pretty great 24 hours for the U.S by Thursday night.

Also, the U.S. women’s 4×100-meter relay team stayed on track for a medal, getting through on their second chance after re-running their race on their own because Allyson Felix was bumped making a handover in the preliminaries. The baton went down, the Americans protested, and they got another go.

With just the clock and the crowd for company in their re-run hours later, they took the stick around in 41.77 seconds to knock slowest-qualifier China out the final and get in through the back door.

“We were laughing and joking out there,” said English Gardner, who ran the anchor leg. “Our coach said before we went out there, ‘It’s just like practice, just the whole world will be watching. Be patient, stay patient with each other, and just do your job.”

World champion Eaton finished with 8893 points, incredibly matching exactly the Olympic record after 10 lung-busting events. He finished third in the final event, the 1,500 meters, to win gold from France’s Kevin Mayer on 8,834 points. Canada’s Damian Warner took the bronze.

Eaton has now won successive Olympic and world titles to confirm his status at the best all-around athlete in the world.

Crouser threw two personal bests in the shot before his Olympic record of 22.52 meters beat world champion and fellow American Joe Kovacs, who took silver at 21.78. New Zealand’s Tomas Walsh got bronze with 21.36.

Crouser’s Olympic record delivered his first major title.

With three days of competition to come after Thursday, the United States was up to 23 medals in track and field after Eaton’s triumph, including eight gold. In one burst Wednesday night, dubbed the “awesome hour” by victorious long jumper Tianna Bartoletta, the U.S. team added six medals in around 60 minutes.