Ashton Eaton followed up his world record and Olympic title in the decathlon in 2012 with his first world championship on Sunday.
Eaton’s point total, 8,809, was well off the world record of 9,039 set at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, but he won with ease and entered the meet predicting he would score 8,800 points without too much effort.
The year after the Olympics can be draining for any track and field athlete, especially decathletes. Eaton is the first reigning Olympic decathlon champion to win the world championship the year following the Games.
German Michael Schrader took the silver with 8,670 points, and Canadian Damian Warner stepped up for bronze with 8,512.
Eaton, 25, took a nine-point lead over U.S. teammate Gunnar Nixon into the second day of the 10-event competition and extended it with a 13.92 clocking in the 110-meter hurdles on Sunday morning.
Next came the discus, where German Michael Schrader passed Nixon to move into silver medal position and held it through the pole vault and javelin. Eaton was never challenged, taking a 168-point lead into the final event, the 1,500 meters.
Nixon, 20, the world junior champion in 2012, kept falling and finished in 13th place. The two-time defending world champion, American Trey Hardee, withdrew with a hamstring injury Saturday. Eaton took silver to Hardee at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.
Eaton will stay in Moscow to watch his American teammates and his wife, Canadian heptathlete Brianne Theisen, who is a medal threat in the seven-event competition Monday and Tuesday.