Undoubtedly the most athletic person in the world, Ashton Eaton’s name has become synonymous with the decathlon, track and field’s most grueling 10 event competition held over two days. The 28 year old from Bend, Oregon recently announced his retirement from the sport, an announcement that will ensure his legacy in the sport forever. This past August, Eaton accomplished what only two others have ever done, winning back to back decathlons at the Olympic games while tying the Olympic decathlon record as well. Eaton has been outright dominant in the decathlon and heptathlon since 2012, winning exclusively gold at every major championship he participated in.
What separates Eaton from the other decathletes in the world? Is it his grit, or his desire for greatness? Or perhaps just his pure athleticism? Few other decathletes (if any) could qualify for the US Olympic team in individual events; Eaton however, could have qualified in both long jump in 2012, and the 400 hurdles in 2016. His PRs in the decathlon events far surpass what most athletes could ever dream of doing in a single event–not to mention he’s competing in 10 events in just over 24 hours. Below is a snapshot of some of his more impressive PRs.
|Long Jump||27’ 0”|
|High Jump||6’ 11”|
To think that Ashton had never competed in a decathlon until he was already in college at the University of Oregon just goes to show the unparalleled level of athleticism that he possessed. With his retirement, it begs the question, what is next for the sport? Surely it’s losing one of its most globally recognizable stars, which may open the door for the next decathlon great. Americans will have to turn their eyes to 23 year old Zachery Ziemek from the University of Wisconsin, who placed 7th at the Rio Olympics in the decathlon.
And let’s not forget about Brianne Theison-Eaton, Ashton’s wife. She announced her retirement alongside Ashton, also securing her place in track and field history. Theisen-Eaton competed in the ‘multi’ events as one of the top heptathletes in the world, winning gold at the Portland Indoor World Championships in 2016, and bronze at the Rio Olympics. Together this duo is inarguably the most athletic couple in the world.
So what’s next for Ashton and Brianne? Probably some well-deserved rest and relaxation, but we have a feeling that this isn’t the last we’ll be seeing of Ashton or Brianne. Our wish? The pair take some well deserved years off, then make a return to the sport at age 35 to join the masters track and field circuit, breaking as many possible age category world records as possible. All we know is that their athleticism isn’t going away, and that their greatness won’t be going anywhere either. To see the statements written by the two on their retirement, find their website, WeAreEaton.com.
By Tor Dworshak