Trey Hardee, a two-time world champion and Olympic silver medalist decathlete, retired after crashing out of the world championships on Saturday, he told NBC Sports’ Lewis Johnson.
Hardee, 33, overcame injury-filled recent years to win the U.S. title in June and return to London’s Olympic Stadium this week.
But he was disqualified from the sixth of 10 events, the 110m hurdles, on Saturday morning.
Hardee clipped the third hurdle and crashed into the fourth. He had been in fifth place overall after the first day, 48 points out of bronze-medal position.
Hardee took three discus throws — all fouls — and bowed out from the competition.
At the 2012 London Games, Hardee grabbed silver behind Ashton Eaton. That despite Hardee having surgery on his throwing elbow a few months before the Olympics.
Another showdown loomed in Rio. But Hardee was hobbled heading into the Olympic Trials and withdrew from the competition after aggravating his hamstring.
There went Rio for him as a competitor. Instead, he earned his way as an NBC Olympics analyst and had a front-row seat for Eaton’s title defense.
“It was a bittersweet moment, watching my countrymen and cheering for them. But really, really in the bottom of your heart, you think, ‘I should be out there,’” Hardee recounted. “It was tough. It gave me more resolve to come back this year.”
A healthy Hardee turned in quite a performance at the USATF Outdoor Championships in June, when he won the decathlon with 8,225 points. He held off the next wave of American decathletes eager to take over — such as 24-year-old Zach Ziemek and Devon Williams. Both accompanied Hardee to London.
Hardee is part of a distinguished list, joining Eaton (2013, 2015), Dan O’Brien (1991, 1993, 1995), Tom Pappas (2003) and Bryan Clay (2005) as the only Americans to win the world decathlon title. Hardee captured his titles in 2009 and ’11.
“Whatever my legacy is, it’s not for me to determine,” Hardee, who trains in Austin, Texas, said before worlds. “I was just led down the right path. All I needed to do was put in the work.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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