EUGENE — Ashton Eaton cleared 17-4 1/2 in the decathlon pole vault Saturday in the U.S. Olympic Trials at Hayward Field.
Eaton was still alive in the competition when he chose to stop, perhaps a sign of how close he now is to the U.S. record.
After eight events, Eaton leads the competition with 7,468 points. The U.S. record, held since 1992 by the great Dan O’Brien, is 8,891.
The Oregon Track Club Eugene star’s clearance was a personal record. His best previous clearance had been 17-3.
Eaton now appears to have a real shot at breaking O’Brien’s mark.
Two events remain in the decathlon, the javelin and 1,500 meters.
Reigning world champion Trey Hardee is second in the current competition with 7,179 points.
And, just for fun, the world record is 9,026, set by Roman Sebrle in 2001.
By Ken Goe