Canada’s track and field team may have another unlikely medalist on its hands.
Damian Warner of London, Ont., sits in third place after the first day of the men’s decathlon at the Olympics after posting personal bests in three of the five events on Wednesday.
Ranked 24th in the world and not considered a medal threat coming in, Warner is now behind only favoured Americans Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee with 4,386 points.
That is his highest single day total ever and has him on pace to shatter his personal best of 8,107 that he set at nationals this summer.
“I feel great,” Warner said. “I came out here, took everything in, enjoyed everything and the numbers came and I’m going to do the same thing tomorrow.”
Warner, 22, finished 18th at the world championships last year and is relatively new to the event, which is why outside expectations weren’t particularly high coming in.
If he finds a way onto the podium, however, he would be the second young member of Athletics Canada’s team to do so, joining high jumper Derek Drouin, who won bronze on Tuesday.
Warner put up personal bests in the long jump, high jump and 400 metres Wednesday to claim third at the halfway point.
He will need to continue to surprise in the 110-metre hurdles (which is his specialty), discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500 metres in order to win a medal on Thursday.
Warner only took up decathlon in 2010 so even if he falls short of a podium finish, his performance has still been rather remarkable.
“I had pretty high expectations of myself,” he said. “This is pretty close.”