This is the first time in 30 years that a Czech or American will not win this meet. The last time was in 1987 when Thorsten Voss (GDR) won in Rome. It’s also the first world championships in the post-Eaton era, but the US has two-time world champion (2009 and 2011) Trey Hardee, now 33, in the field. As the USA champ (in horrible heat conditions of Sacramento), he has an outside shot at a medal.
But most eyes will be on France’s Kevin Mayer and Canada’s Damian Warner, both of whom are being touted as the heir apparent to Eaton. They were respectively 2nd and 3rd in Rio.
Warner competed frequently in the spring, won in Götzis and is completely healthy. This year he is under the tutelage of legendary coach Les Gramantik (who coached Mike Smith) he is likely to lead through seven events.
Mayer, 25, had fine indoor season, went back into training for three months, skipped Götzis and any other challenge events, but has posted outstanding individual marks (PRs in high jump, pole vault, hurdles, and long throws. Although still a weak long jump). He could have a bad event in London and still be in contention for the gold. Likely to take over the lead during pole vault where he is 6/7 bars (at 30 points a bar for each 10cm) better. He has a margin in the javelin and can hang on to Warner, who will have a slight advantage in the 1500m
There won’t be a meet record: it’s Eaton’s 9045 world record from Beijing. There are nine (!) NCAA champions/runner-ups in the field (Hardee, Ziemek, Williams, Victor, Felix, Tonneson, Uibo, Saluri, and Wieland, the German alternate). That must be some sort of record: more than a quarter of the field comes from the NCAA. Yikes! They should have this meet in Eugene. Oh yeah, it’ll be in Eugene in four years.
Kazmirek may not be entirely healthy since the Germans recently added Wieland as their decathlon alternate. That opens a medal for Rico Freimuth or Lindon Victor or longshot Zach Ziemek of Wisconsin.