Frenchman Kevin Mayer took an early lead in the decathlon at the World Championships on Friday in the race to fill the void left by the retirement of American Ashton Eaton this year.
Olympic silver medallist Mayer amassed a total of 8,768 points from the 10 disciplines in the gruelling two-day event. Germany's Rico Freimuth, bronze victor two years ago in the Beijing worlds, took silver in 8,564 points and his compatriot Kai Kazmirek won bronze in 8,488.
"I am so, so exhausted", the 25-year-old Mayer said.
Mayer, the overnight leader, recorded the third fastest time of 13.75 seconds in the 110 meters hurdles but could manage only seventh place with a throw of 47.14 in the discus.
Mayer made no mistake with the javelin, throwing a best of 66.10m, before clocking a safe 4:36.73 around the strength-sapping 1500m, the final event.
The 25-year-old also performed well in the shot put, where he threw a season's best of 15.72 meters to finish second, and was fourth in the long jump with a leap of 7.52 meters.
Two potential medal contenders crashed out in the fourth heat of Saturday's hurdles.
First, the USA's former two-time world champion Trey Hardee went down hard before Russian Ilya Shkurenyev, competing as a neutral, pulled up clutching his hamstring after the penultimate flight of barriers.