U.S. gets first decathlon gold-silver since 1956

U.S. gold medalist Ashton Eaton, left, and U.S. silver medalist Trey Hardee celebrate after the men's decathlon competition on Aug. 9, 2012, in London. GABRIEL BOUYS/Getty Images

(CBS/AP) Ashton Eaton was crowned the "world's greatest athlete" on Thursday winning the Olympic decathlon, beating out his U.S. teammate Trey Hardee on the final day of competition.

Eaton set the decathlon world record at the U.S. trials in June and backed it up with an Olympic victory with 8,869 points.Two-time world champion Hardee settled for silver with 8,671 points and Leonel Suarez of Cuba took the bronze, 346 points behind Eaton, at 8,523.

The gold-silver finish is the first time in 56 years that the United States has won gold and silver in the event. Milt Campbell and Rafer Johnson first accomplished the feat in the 1956 Melbourne Games.

"To be part of the U.S sweep ... when we are 80 or 90 years old, our grandkids are going to puff out their chests a little bit," said Hardee of earning the silver medal behind teammate Eaton.

Eaton had a 151-point lead going into the final event, the 1,500 meters, and is a better middle-distance runner than Hardee. But there were still some nerves in the field, with a rare false start in the 1,500.

Eaton needed to slash six seconds off his fastest ever time in the 1,500 to break his world record, but ran a cautious race and finished well outside his personal best in 4 minutes, 33.59 seconds.

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