EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Decathlete Trey Hardee will have a front-row seat even if he may not be able to compete.
The 2012 Olympic silver medalist aggravated a left hamstring injury on Day 1 of the event Saturday at the U.S. Track and Field Trials.
Instead of withdrawing, he’s going to remain in the competition so that he can watch Ashton Eaton and his decathlon buddies from the infield on the final day.
“This is my last Olympic Trials. I’m not going to watch it from the stands,” Hardee said.
Eaton, the reigning Olympic champion and record holder, is leading the event with 4,560 points. Hardee was in the mix until his hamstring began to bother him in the high jump — then really bother him during the day’s final event, the 400. He had to limp to the finish line in a time of 1 minute, 12.49 seconds.
He’s 1,231 points behind his good friend, Eaton.
“My heart wants to be out there,” said Hardee, a two-time world champion.
It’s been an injury-filled season for Hardee, who dislocated his left foot stepping out of the pole vault area in January. He was still hobbled in May and didn’t think he would be able to compete.
But his wife encouraged him to give it a shot and he turned in some good training days in the lead-up to trials. About 10 days ago, he hurt his hamstring while pole vaulting.
Still, he tried to give it a go.
“I don’t have the fitness that I’m used to at this part of the season because haven’t been able to run,” Hardee said. “I’m way too rested. I’m not in decathlon shape.”
While he iced his hamstring after a painful 400, many of his fellow decathletes approached him to show their appreciation for all he’s meant in the event.
“That meant a lot,” said the 32-year-old Hardee, who has no plans to retire.
He shared a moment with Eaton as well — just a look that conveyed his thoughts.
“He knows what it takes. Just get on the team,” Hardee said.
Seeing a hobbled Hardee was difficult for Eaton.
“Trey is one of the guys who motivated me to be here. But this is life. This is sport,” said Eaton, who’s dealing with a sore hamstring as he leads Jeremy Taiwo by 82 points with five events to go. “He said he’s going to come out here (Sunday).”
That’s the plan, no matter how painful it might be. If Hardee feels good, though, he may just give it a try.
“I just want to be out there with the guys,” Hardee said.