London, England – World record holder Ashton Eaton of the United States is leading the Olympic decathlon competition after three events, while countryman Trey Hardee is second.
Eaton began Wednesday morning by running an Olympic decathlon-best in the 100 meters, finishing in 10.35 seconds. The previous record of 10.41 was set by American Bill Toomey at the 1968 Mexico Games.
The 24-year-old Portland, Ore., native then posted the top mark in the long jump with a leap of 8.03 meters. That was only .04 meters behind another Olympic record for the decathlon.
After placing 11th in the shot put, Eaton has compiled 2,848 points, placing him ahead of Hardee by 105 points. Hardee beat Eaton for gold at last year's world championships.
"It's good that both of us are on top," Eaton said. "That's where we want to be."
Eaton broke the decathlon world record at U.S. trials this year. He and Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic are the only two men to break the 9,000-point barrier. The 37-year-old Sebrle, who still owns the Olympic record, started the competition in London, but bowed out after a poor showing in the 100.
Oleksiy Kasyanov of the Ukraine is 184 points behind Eaton in third and Canada's Damian Warner is sitting in fifth place with 2,637 points.
The decathlon continues Wednesday evening with the high jump and 400 meters before concluding Thursday with competition in the final five disciplines.
The first round of the men's 5,000 meters was held on Wednesday and 15 runners made it through to Saturday's final race. Among those qualifying were Mo Farah of Great Britain and American Galen Rupp, who finished first and second, respectively, in the 10,000. Bernard Lagat and Lopez Lomong of the U.S. also qualified for the final.
Meanwhile, Alysia Johnson Montano of the U.S. posted the best time in qualifications for the semifinals of the 800m, running the two-lap race in 2 minutes, 0.47 seconds. Kenya's Pamela Jelimo was just .07 seconds slower, while Americans Alice Schmidt and Geena Gall also earned spots in Thursday's semis.
Brad Walker was the lone American to qualify for Friday's pole vault finals. U.S. teammates Jeremey Scott and Derek Miles did not make the cut.
The U.S. women also failed to place a single thrower in the hammer throw final, as Amber Campbell and Jessica Cosby missed qualifying by a slim margin. The 12 best performers advanced to Friday's medal round, but Campbell finished 13th and Cosby was one place behind in 14th.