LONDON – Former Texas Longhorn Trey Hardee secured his first Olympic medal when he finished second in the decathlon, a two-day event which concluded Thursday.
Hardee, who posted 8,671 points, was in second place from wire-to-wire behind fellow American Ashton Eaton who was in reach of the Olympic record (8,893 by Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic in 2004), but still managed an impressive tally of 8,869.
Eaton and Hardee became the first Americans to go one-two in the Olympic decathlon since Milton Campbell and Rafer Johnson in 1956.
“I think as the days and weeks and months pass, Ashton and I will look back on this and realize how special this really is and what it really meant,” Hardee said. “This isn’t just another meet, this isn’t the Olympic Trials, this isn’t a World Championships, this is the Olympic Games, and representing the United States in that is bigger than you realize.”
Hardee made an early run at Eaton during the final half of the 10-event competition.
He had the best time (13.54) in the 110-meter hurdles, the first of the event of the day, and closed to within 99 points of Eaton after a third-place finish (48.26m/158-4.00) in the discus.
But Hardee tied for ninth in the pole vault (4.80m/15-9.00) while Eaton was third with a clearance of 5.20 (17-0.75).
Hardee, a two-time world champion in the decathlon, held off Leonel Suarez of Cuba who captured the bronze medal. Suarez needed to beat Hardee by 33 seconds in the 1500 meters, the final event, to take the silver.
Hardee ran a time of 4:40.94, just 10 seconds behind Suarez (click here for the results of the decathlon).
Hardee became the first Longhorn to secure a medal in the decathlon. He joins fellow Texas ex, Leo Manzano (silver in the 1,500m), as medal winners at this Olympic games.
Prior to this Olympics, the Longhorns had five individuals combine for six medals. Winthrop Graham (silver in 400-meter hurdle) and Du'aine Ladejo (bronze in 1600-meter relay) were the last Longhorns to medal, taking home hardware at the 1992 Games.
Hardee was in the mix for a medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Hardee was in third place (4,428) after the first day, but did not clear a bar in the pole vault and withdrew.
He went on to win the world championship in 2009 and 2011, and then posted 8,383 points at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, finishing second behind Eaton who set the world record (9,039) at the event.
Another former Longhorn, Samyr Laine, was also in action Thursday. He reached the finals of the triple jump by finishing sixth in Group A of Tuesday’s qualifying round with a mark of 16.81m (55-2.00).
Competing for his native Haiti, he went 16.65m (54-7.50) on his second attempt, finishing 11th. Click here for the results of the triple jump.