Published Friday 10 August 2012

Brent Newdick mixed with the big boys of world track and field while competing in the Olympic decathlon today.
Newdick, 27, finished a commendable 12th in the event, and had a close-up view of three outstanding athletics feats.
In his own event, he watched as world record-holder Ashton Eaton of the United States outclassed the rest of the 31-strong field to win easily. Eaton’s final total of 8869 points was 198 ahead of second-placed countryman Trey Hardee.
Newdick also saw Kenyan David Rudisha win the 800m in a world record time of 1min 40.91s, which, to give it some New Zealand relevance, is the best part of five seconds faster than our own champion, Peter Snell, ever managed.
The other world star on show was Jamaican Usain Bolt, who duly completed the sprint double for the second time at an Olympics. He won the 200m in 19.32s, a time only he has beaten. He the only athlete to have won two Olympic men’s 200m gold medals.
With all that going on, there was a real buzz in the Olympic stadium and Newdick responded well.
He was 20th after the first day of competition and gradually improved on the second day. He threw 59.82s, a personal best, in the ninth event, the javelin, and completed his two days’ work by running a season’s best of 4min 38.20s for the 1500m.
He finished with a total of 7988 points, 881 behind Eaton.
Newdick, who now lives in Auckland but is from Bay of Plenty, then completed a victory lap with the other decathletes, saluting the crowd of 80,000.
He said he was pleased with his showing. Tenth, he said, would have been a dream result, but he was very content with 12th and felt he had been solid throughout the event.