Canada’s Damian Warner opened his quest for an Olympic decathlon title in emphatic fashion.
The 31-year-old from London, Ont., ran 10.12 seconds in the 100 metres to tie his decathlon world record in the event.
Warner then crushed the field in the long jump, soaring 8.24 metres, the longest in Olympic decathlon history, and a distance that would have earned him a bronze medal in the open men’s long jump earlier in the week.
Warner was 11th in the shot put, but still earned enough points to maintain a commanding lead after three of 10 events with a score of 2,966.
Canadian teammate Pierce LePage was second with 2,773, while Australian Ashley Moloney was third with 2,741.
Warner is the No. 1-ranked decathlete in the world this year after shattering his Canadian record at the Hypo-Meeting in Gotzis, Austria. His score of 8,995 there was the fourth best in history.
LePage, from Whitby, Ont., ran the 100 in 10.43, the third-fastest time on the morning. His 7.65 metres in long jump was second-best, and his throw of 15.31 in shot put was fourth.
Warner’s Canadian record performance in May came after a winter of training in an unheated hockey arena in London. COVID-19 protocols shut down the University of Western Ontario indoor track facility, so his coaches outfitted the arena with a 40-metre track runway, pole vault and high jump pits, and a throwing circle.
The decathletes face gruelling conditions in Tokyo. The temperature at Olympic Stadium at 9 a.m. for the 100 metres was already 33 C, but felt like 47 C with the humidity.
The decathlon features 10 events over two days. Athletes still have the high jump, and 400 metres on Wednesday. Thursday’s Day 2 events are the 110-metre hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, and the 1,500 metres.
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