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June 25, 2024

Heath Baldwin wins U.S. Olympic Trials Decathlon, qualifies for Paris Olympics

Michigan State graduate student Heath Baldwin won the decathlon at the U.S. Track and Field trials on Saturday night at Historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, to secure a spot at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. He is the first Spartan to qualify for the Olympic decathlon since Paul Terek in 2004.

Baldwin, who opted out of the 2024 NCAA Outdoor Championships earlier this month to prepare for the trials, totaled a personal-best 8,625 points to finish first in the 19-athlete field. His score is the sixth-best in the world this year and third all-time on the all-dates collegiate list.

He is joined on the Olympic team by 2020 Olympian Zach Ziemek in second place with 8,516 points and Harrison Williams in third place with 8,384 points. 

Baldwin kicked off decathlon action Friday morning and ended the first day of competition at the top of the leaderboard with 4,508 points. He set personal bests in the 400m with 48.58 and shot put with 16.52m, while adding a season-best 2.13m clearance in the high jump, securing the top spot in the field in both the shot put and high jump.

A 13.77-second performance in the 110 meters hurdles for 1,004 points helped Baldwin hold the top spot in the field to start the second day of competition. He set his third personal best of the meet in the following event, the discus throw with 49.87 meters, to maintain a 34-point lead over second-place Ziemek. Ziemek, who held the lead after the first four events on day one, retook the lead after eight events with a 5.35 meters clearance in the pole vault, while Baldwin moved to second with a 4.85 meters jump in the event.

The national title came down to the final event after Baldwin's 66.69 meters effort in the javelin throw. His throw, good for 839 points, was 16 feet better than the second-place finisher in the event. Baldwin wrapped his historic weekend with a time of 4:41.87 in the 1500 meters to top Ziemek's 4:53.65 and secure the gold.

MSU teammate Ryan Talbot competed alongside Baldwin in the decathlon, earning four top-five finishes en route to a season-best 7,872 points. Former Spartan standout Tori Franklin finished third in the triple jump with a 13.72m leap and will await USA Track & Field's Olympic team announcement for the event. In 2022, she earned bronze at the World Championships to become the first American woman to medal in the triple jump at a World Championship. No American has finished better than fourth at the Olympics in the event. 

Track and field action at the Paris Olympics begins Aug. 1 and concludes Aug. 11. 

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