Ashton wins World indoor

Ashton Eaton wins gold at the World Indoor Track & Field Championships

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United States' Ashton Eaton clears a hurdle in the 60m hurdles of the men's heptathlon during the Athletics Indoor World Championships in Sopot, Poland, Saturday, March 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Ken Goe | kgoe@oregonian.comBy Ken Goe | 
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on March 08, 2014 at 1:01 PM, updated March 08, 2014 at 3:06 PM

Ashton Eaton of Oregon Track Club Elite won the gold medal in the indoor heptathlon at the World Indoor Track & Field Championships Saturday in Sopot, Poland.

Eaton made a run at his own world record, but fell just short.

Had he run the 1,000 meters 1.18 seconds faster, the former University of Oregon athlete would have broken the record. The 1,000 is the last event in the seven-event competition.

As it was, Eaton scored 6,632 points. The record, which he set in 2012, is 6,645.

Andrei Krauchanka of Belarus was a distant second with 6,303

Eaton also holds the world record in the decathlon, and is the reigning decathlon 

Olympic gold medalist.

His wife, former University of Oregon star Brianne Theisen Eaton, won the silver medal in the pentathlon on Friday.

-- Ken Goe 


‘Weak’ Eaton misses record, not gold

The former Oregon standout wins another medal but narrowly falls short of his world mark



United States' gold medal winner Ashton Eaton is flanked by Belarus' silver medal winner Andrei Krauchanka, left, and Belgium's bronze medal winner Thomas van der Plaetsen during the ceremony for the men's heptathlon at the Athletics Indoor World Championships in Sopot, Poland, Saturday, March 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)




SOPOT, Poland — Ashton Eaton won yet another gold medal and again proved himself the world’s greatest athlete, the title that traditionally goes to the best multi-event competitor in athletics.

Yet after winning the heptathlon at the world indoor championships on Saturday, all Eaton could do was slam his fist in frustration on the track’s side railing. He called himself “weak” because he missed beating his own world record by 1.18 seconds over the closing 1,000 meters.

“I don’t know, I’m just mentally weak,” Eaton said, feeling he had not pushed himself through enough pain and fatigue to break the heptathlon world record again.

“I thought I was more tired than I actually was. And to me that is just being weak. I should push through being tired. It is ridiculous,” he said.

Eaton was effectively competing only against himself during the two-day seven-event competition, chasing the world record points total he set at the world indoors in Istanbul in 2012.

The defending champion held a massive winning margin of 329 points over Andrei Krauchanka of Belarus. Thomas Van der Plaetsen of Belgium took bronze.

Eaton ran the closing 1,000 in 2 minutes, 34.72 seconds to finish with 6,632 points. The record stands at 6,645.

Missed it by 13 points in a 6,000-plus competition.

Still, what he considered defeat, not getting the world record, will teach him a lot. “I am not a robot, but I try,” Eaton said.

Eaton still remembers the pain of losing to American compatriot Trey Hardee at the outdoor world championships in Daegu three years ago, and went back to the drawing board to prepare for the London Olympics.

“I learned so much from failure,” he said. Eaton has not looked back since, winning everything in sight.

He intends to take a break from the bruising multi-event disciplines this year and give himself respite with a season of 400 hurdles.

It’s another way to deal with a setback and come back stronger for the 2015 world championships in Beijing and the Rio Olympics the following year.

And, perhaps worst of all, he doesn’t even feel the toughest in his own household anymore. Late Friday, his Canadian wife Brianne Theisen-Eaton took silver in the pentathlon.

“Right now, Brianne is way tougher than I am,” he said.

There was plenty of other American success to celebrate. In the biggest upset of the championships so far, Nia Ali caught up with defending champion Sally Pearson at the last hurdle and outkicked her to the line to take the 60 hurdles title in a personal best of 7.80 seconds, holding a .05 edge over the Australian.

In the women’s 400, Francena McCorory outlasted Kaliese Spencer of Jamaica to add an individual title to her world outdoor and Olympic 4x400 relay titles.

It left the United States at the top of the medal table with four gold and six medals overall, followed by Russia with two gold.

Records Fall, Team USA Wins Golds in Final Day in Poland


Day Three Quotes

SOPOT, Poland -- Team USA crushed a 15-year-old men’s 4x400 Indoor World Record on the final day of the 2014 World Indoor Championships and the women’s 4x400 set an American record to round out the competition at Argo Arena.  Team USA picked up four other medals for a total of 12 to close out the meet at the top of the medal table. Russia was second with five total (3 gold) followed by Ethiopia’s five (2 gold).

USA’s men’s 4x400m captured the gold medal and fittingly finished with the first and only World record mark clocking 3:02.13. Kyle Clemons (Lawrence, Kan.), the 400m bronze medalist, handed off after the first leg just steps behind Great Britain, but David Verburg (Gainesville, Fla.) gave Team USA the lead on the second carry, before Kind Butler III (Indianapolis, Ind.) sprinted away with a 45.41 third leg to give the squad a solid lead. Calvin Smith (Atlanta, Ga.) went out very calm and controlled on the anchor leg and was stellar over the final 100 to clock 45.12.

The time of 3:01.96 ran by Kerron Clement, Wallace Spearmon, Darold Williamson and Jeremy Warner in 2006 at Fayetteville, Ark., was never ratified as a World Record, but stands as the American record.

Team USA front-loaded the women’s 4x400 final, leading off with Natasha Hastings (Round Rock, Texas), and the quartet never trailed as Hastings clocked 51.95 on the opening carry. Joanna Atkins (Minneloa, Fla.) kept the lead with a 51.85 before individual 400 champion Francena McCorory (Hampton, Va.) blew the race open with a 50.36 on the third leg. International newcomer Cassandra Tate (Baton Rouge, La.) finished off the American Record run with a 51.67 to stop the clock at 3:24.83. The previous AR of 3:27.34 was set in 2010 at Doha, and this was only the second time the U.S. has won this event.

Chanelle Price (Knoxville, Tenn.) became the first American woman to win the 800m World Indoor title, leading from the gun to set a personal best of 2:00.09 in her first international championship final since placing sixth at the 2007 World Youth. Price took the field through 200 in 27.88 and 400 in 57.73. Looking comfortable and composed, she passed 600 in 1:28.91 and staved off local favorite Angelika Cichocka (POL) for the gold.

Omo Osaghae blasted out of the blocks in the men’s 60 hurdles final and cleared the first hurdle first. Osaghae hurdled well over the next four barriers and held off two Frenchmen, leaning at the line for gold in 7.45, a lifetime best. In his international championship debut, he became the tenth Team USA man to win this event.

Osaghae (Lubbock, Texas) won his semifinal heat with a PR of 7.49. Dominic Berger (Newport News, Va.) did not start well in the second semifinal and was just outside the qualifying spot with his fifth-place time of 7.64.

Bernard Lagat (Tucson, Ariz.) ran comfortably in the middle of the pack as the field went at a slow pace through 800 in 2:15.22.  The group passed through the mile in 4:29, and at 2000 the pace started to pick up after the see-saw early going. Lagat eased forward into contention, pushing hard with 150 to go. He tried to move to the lead into the final curve, but was held off by Caleb Ndiku (KEN) and took silver in 7:55.22 after covering the final 400 in 53 seconds. Lagat became the oldest man ever to win a medal at the World Indoors, as he added a silver to the three golds he already had. Galen Rupp (Portland, Ore.) finished strongly to take fourth in 7:55.84.

Tianna Bartoletta had a strong start and executed well throughout the women’s 60m final, and only the two fastest times in the world this year beat her as she clocked a season-best 7.06 to claim bronze behind World and Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM) and Murielle Ahoure (CIV). Bartoletta (Tampa, Fla.) automatically advanced to the finals of the women’s 60m, finishing second in the second semi in 7.14. Lekeisha Lawson (West Covina, Calif.) was third in the first semifinal in 7.18, but did not advance to the final.

World record-holder Jenn Suhr (Churchville, N.Y.) played a passing game in the women’s pole vault, clearing 4.65m/15-3 on her first attempt of the competition. Suhr passed at 4.70m/15-5 before missing three times at 4.75m/15-7 to end up in a tie for fifth. Mary Saxer (Boston, Mass.) went over 4.55m/14-11 to take eighth.

In the women’s long jump final, Tori Polk (Plano, Texas) took fifth place with a jump of 6.61m/21-8.25 on her third attempt.

Competing in the deepest men’s high jump final in World Indoors history, Erik Kynard (Manhattan, Kansas) cleared a season best on his first attempt at 2.34m/7-8 and ended up just out of the medals in fourth. Kynard missed once at 2.36m/7-8.85 and twice at 2.38m/7-9.75.

All eyes were on world record-setting Genzebe Dibaba (ETH) going into the women’s 3000m final, but there was a pedestrian early pace as the field passed 400 in 82.36. A slow first kilometer yielded to a much quicker second kilo as Dibaba picked up the pace dramatically.  Shannon Rowbury (Portland, Ore.) and Gabriele Grunewald (Minneapolis, Minn.) were near the back of the pack, but Rowbury tried to stay in contact with four laps to go, moving to 7th. Rowbury dropped back one spot at the finish, taking eighth in 9:07.82, and Grunewald was 10th in 9:11.76.

Chris Carter (Hearne, Texas) had a best of 16.74m/54-11.25 in the third round of the men’s triple jump to finish sixth in his first international competition.

Team USA medals

Gold (8)

Ryan Whiting, Men’s shot put

Ashton Eaton, Heptathlon

Francena McCorory, Women’s 400m

Nia Ali, Women’s 60m hurdles

Chanelle Price, Women’s 800m

Omo Osaghae, Men’s 60m hurdles

Women’s 4x400m Relay (Natasha Hastings, Joanne Atkins, Francena McCorory, Cassandra Tate)

Men’s 4x400m Relay (Kyle Clemons, David Verburg, Kind Butler III, Calvin Smith)

Silver (2)

Marvin Bracy, Men’s 60m

Bernard Lagat, Men’s 3,000m

Bronze (2)

Kyle Clemons, Men’s 400m

Tianna Bartoletta, Women’s 60m


- Team’s USA’s 8 golds equaled the second-highest total ever for the United States. The U.S. has twice won 10 golds and eight once.

- The men’s 4x4 gave the U.S. its fifth consecutive win in the event

- Omo Osaghae’s gold medal in the men’s 60-meter hurdles was the fourth U.S. gold in the last six World Indoors