7 Things You Didn't Know About Olympic Decathlete Ashton Eaton
The Olympic Decathlon is often said to decide the title of "World's Greatest Athlete," and as the event's world record holder and reigning Olympic gold medalist, United States athlete Ashton Eaton is the very best. Eaton is participating in his second Olympic games and will be looking to add to an already impressive list of accomplishments.
Here are some lesser-known facts about the 28-year-old American you probably didn't know:
1. He's one of two Olympic decathlon athletes in the over-9,000 club.
Eaton put up 8,869 points in winning the decathlon gold medal in London in 2012, then bested his own world record with 9,045 points at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing. The Czech Republic's Roman Sebrle is the only other competitor to top 9,000 points, scoring 9,026 in 2011, according to the Chicago Tribune.
2. He's married to a fellow Olympian.
Eaton is married to Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Canada. The couple first met at the University of Oregon and has been married since 2013. Theisen-Eaton will compete in the heptathlon in Rio, an event she won gold in at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Ireland.
3. Eaton dominated college competition.
Eaton was decorated long before becoming a star on the international level. He won five NCAA championships while at Oregon, including three in the decathlon and two in the heptathlon. As a senior in 2010, he also won the Bowerman, awarded to the nation's best collegiate track and field athlete.
4. Eaton is the reigning U.S. Track and Field athlete of the year.
In December he won the Jesse Owens Award for U.S. Track and Field Male Athlete of the Year. He also named World Male Athlete of the Year in November by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
5. He's trying to accomplish something that hasn't been done in 32 years.
Another decathlon gold medal would make Eaton the first athlete to accomplish the feat at two straight Summer Games since England's Daly Thompson in 1980 and 1984, according to SB Nation. The only other athlete to go back-to-back was fellow American Bob Mathias in 1948 and 1952.
6. He's coming off a mild injury.
Eaton's 8,750 points were more than enough to win the decathlon in June's U.S. Track and Field Trials, though they weren't close to topping his world record. Eaton was nursing a sore right hamstring, though he figures to be in better shape come time for the event in Rio.
7. Eaton was not familiar with the decathlon coming out of high school.
During his collegiate decision-making process, high school coach Tate Metcalf recommended programs strong in the decathlon — an event Eaton had never even heard of, according to.
During his collegiate decision-making process, high school coach Tate Metcalf recommended programs strong in the decathlon — an event Eaton had never even heard of, according to Visa's Team USA site.