The decathlon has produced some of USA track and field’s biggest household names. As we get closer to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England, the story-lines have returned with Team USA featuring its best lineup ever in the Decathlon. The top three USA decathletes are so talented that many are predicting a 1-2-3 American finish in London.
The youngest of the three, Ashton Eaton, had never heard of the two day, 10-event competition until late in his career at Mountain View High School in Bend, Oregon. All the signs of a champion decathlete were evident when Eaton became state champion in the 400-meter dash and long-jump, and was 2nd in the 200-meter dash. His talents did not escape the attention of the University of Oregon, who sought his potential and range of speed, power and endurance. That combination, coupled with his 6’1″ 185 pound frame and fierce determination as a competitor, made him the perfect package for an event considered the most grueling of all track and field events.
By the conclusion of Ashton’s collegiate career, he had earned five NCAA Championship titles (3 decathlon, 2 heptathlon) and five Pac-10 titles (3 decathlon, 100m hurdles, long-jump). In 2009, while still a student at Oregon, Ashton finished 2nd to Trey Hardee at the USA Championships, qualifying for the World Championships in Berlin, Germany later that summer.
In 2010, Ashton began the season by breaking the world record in the heptathlon at the NCAA Indoor Championships, scoring 6,499 points. The record, previously held by the legendary Dan O’Brien, had stood since 1993. In his final appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, Ashton became the first to win three consecutive NCAA decathlon titles. His personal-best score of 8,457 points set NCAA, Pac-10 and University of Oregon records. At the conclusion of the season, Ashton won the 2010 Bowerman Award, the highest honor for collegiate track and field athletes.
Ashton’s first year as a professional got off to a fast start. At the 2011 Millrose Games, the three American decathletes, Ashton, Trey Hardee (defending World Champion) and Bryan Clay (defending Olympic Champion) went head-to-head in the Multi-Event Challenge over three events: the 60m hurdles, high jump and shot-put. Ashton won two of the three events and registering new personal bests in the shot-put and hurdles. The following month at the 2011 International Indoor Combined Events meet in Tallinn, Estonia, Ashton broke his own world record for the heptathlon. The 23-year-old tallied 6,568 points, 69 points more than his previous world record set the previous year.
Ashton continued his success during the 2011 outdoor season as he won the USA Championships in Eugene, Oregon with a world best mark of 8729 points. At the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, Ashton won the 100-meter dash, long jump, 400- meter dash and 110-meter hurdle decathlon events en route to a silver medal.
The 2012 season began with Ashton winning the heptathlon at the World Indoor Championships with another World Record performance. This marked the second time that Ashton had broken his own Heptathlon World Record.
Ashton is known for his great smile and charisma that attracts many admiring fans. He is a confident competitor that never compromises his integrity and great sportsmanship. Ashton attributes his strength and character to his mother, Rosalyn Eaton.
As the 2012 Olympics approach, all eyes will be on Ashton as he seeks to add the title of “World’s Greatest Athlete” to his long list of accomplishments. Leading up to the Games, Ashton is considered by many to be the decathlon gold medal favorite with a chance to break the World Record currently held by Roman Sebrle with 9026 points.
2013 – USA Outdoor Champion, World Outdoor Championships Gold Medalist, 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist, Olympic Trials Champion, World Indoor Championships Gold Medalist and USA Indoor Long Jump Champion, 2011 World Championships Silver Medal and USA Champion, 2010 Bowerman Award WinnerAshton's website »