The men’s decathlon start list on Day 2 was devoid of Damian Warner, the Olympic champion who led the competition until visibly pulling his hamstring during the field’s fifth event, the 400m.
But Team Canada soon had reason to cheer again, as 26-year-old Pierce Lepage continued stacking personal bests on top of each other. After a competition-leading time of 13.68 in the 110m hurdles, and a lifetime best throw in the discus of 53.26m, he ranked ahead of all 19 other competitors and assumed a small, 18-point lead over his closest chaser: Ayden Owens-Delerme of Puerto Rico.
ON THE PODIUM 🇨🇦🥈— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) July 25, 2022
Canadian decathlete Pierce LePage collects silver at the World Athletics Championships, his first world championship medal and he did it with a personal-best score of 8,701 🙌 pic.twitter.com/WnMyh6wPd5
The afternoon session, however, started off kinder to Lepage’s main competitor, decathlon world record holder Kevin Mayer of France. Mayer bested Lepage by 40 cm in the pole vault and by nearly 13m in the javelin throw. By the time the athletes lined up for the competition’s last event, the 1500m, Lepage was 107 points back, and still 11 points ahead of Zachery Zimek of the United States.
The 1500m did little to shake up the standings. Lepage ran to a season’s best of 4:42.77, which placed him a second behind Mayer and two ahead of Zimek. His final score of 8701 was a 97-point PB, and made of him a world silver medalist for the first time of his career.
“It feels so good – it’s hard to put into the words,” he said. “I’ve always come so close at all these championships, but today I opened up with two amazing personal bests – I wasn’t really expecting it – and I just took it from there… I’m happy I lasted and made it to the top of the podium.”
Lepage said he had been dealing with lingering issues from a torn patella for the last few years, but a renewed focus on physical rehab has allowed him to train and compete at a higher level. His next stop, he said is the Commonwealth Games, but not before an evening of proper refuelling.
“I’m so tired – I’ll probably eat all the pizza in the village.”