Q&A #19

Who Holds Both the Men's Indoor and Outdoor Multi-Event Records

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Ashton James Eaton 

Personal life 

Eaton was born in Portland, Oregon , on January 21, 1988,[1] the only child of Roslyn Eaton and Terrance Wilson.[2] His father is African-American and his mother is of European descent.[3]

His maternal grandfather, Jim Eaton, played American football at Michigan State University , and his father also played the sport. His mother was an athlete and a dancer.[4] He has three paternal siblings, including Verice Bennett, a gunnery sergeant in the United States Marine Corps , who received the Silver Star in December 2011 for serving with valor in Afghanistan.

Eaton's parents separated when he was two years old. His mother, Roslyn, moved to La Pine, Oregon . He was athletic from a young age, competing in football, basketball, running, soccer, and wrestling .[1] When Eaton was in the fifth grade, he and his mother relocated to Bend, Oregon ,[2] where he attendedMountain View High School in Bend.[5] Interested in track and field, he was coached by Tate Metcalf and John Nosler. In 2006, he won the state high school400 metres championship in 48.69 seconds and the long jump championship with 24 feet 0.25 inches (7.3216 m). Only a few colleges recruited Eaton. He considered playing football at a Division III college. In the spring of 2006, Metcalf asked Eaton if he would consider the decathlon (an event Eaton had never heard of) while in college.[2] Metcalf suggested that Eaton attend a university with a strong decathlon program, and Eaton chose the University of Oregon .[1]

He is engaged to Canadian athlete Brianne Theisen .[6][7]

Collegiate career 

Eaton was initially coached at Oregon by Dan Steele , the associate director of track and a former decathlete. Under Steele, Eaton rapidly improved in the 1500 metres , high jump , hurdles , and pole vault . He improved his pole vault by nearly 4 feet (1.2 m) in one year, and reached 8,000 points by his sixth collegiate decathlon. After Steele left in 2010 to coach at Northern Iowa University , the university hired decathlon coach Harry Marra (who had trained Olympic decathletes Dan O'Brien and Dave Johnson ) to further develop Eaton's skills.[1]

In 2008, Eaton won the decathlon at the NCAA Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championship .[8]

In 2009, Eaton defended his decathlon title at the NCAA Championships to win with 8,241 points.[9] He also won the heptathlon title at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Championships with 5,988 points. Eaton won the Division I field athlete of the year award in 2009.[10]

At the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships, Eaton broke the heptathlon world record with a score of 6,499, eclipsing Dan O'Brien 's 17-year-old mark by 23 points. In June 2010, he won his third consecutive NCAA decathlon title by finishing first in the decathlon with a personal best of 8,457 points.[11] In 2010, Eaton won The Bowerman , given annually to the best male and female U.S. collegiate track and field athletes.[12] Eaton graduated from the University of Oregon the same year.[1]

International career 


At the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials , Eaton placed fifth overall.[13]

At the 2009 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships , Eaton placed second in the decathlon behind Trey Hardee . This earned him a place at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics , in Berlin, where he finished 18th with a points total of 8061.


Eaton improved his own world record in the indoor heptathlon at the International Indoor Combined Events Meeting in Tallinn in February 2011.Despite under-performing in the high jump he managed a score of 6568 points.[16]

In August 2011, at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics , Eaton won thesilver medal in the decathlon competition with a final points tally of 8505, losing first place to his compatriot Trey Hardee .[17]

In March 2012, at the 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships , Eaton won thegold medal in the heptathlon competition with a new world record 6645, winning five events (60 m, 60 m hurdles, long jump, pole vault and 1000 m) out of seven and finished third for the rest (high jump and shot put). He defeated silver medal winner Oleksiy Kasyanov by 574 points (6071).

2012 Summer Olympics 

See also: Athletics at the 2012 Summer Olympics


At the 2012 United States Olympic Trials , the qualifying meet for the 2012 Summer Olympics , Eaton started day one of the decathlon competition with two world decathlon bests , the equivalent of a world record for athletes competing in a full decathlon. The first in the 100-meters (10.21), and then in the long jump (8.23 metres (27.0 ft)).[18] To emphasize the quality of Eaton's first two marks, the 100-meters time equalled the minimum (season wide) time required for men to qualify for the trials 100-meters race[19] and only .03 short of the Olympic "A" standard.[20] The long jump was 10 inches (25 cm) farther than the top qualifier in the long jump preliminary round held that same day at the trials,[21] 3 centimetres (1.2 in) beyond the "A" standard, and would have tied for second in the final. He went on to finish fifth in the shot put (14.20 metres (46.6 ft)), first in the high jump (2.05 metres (6.7 ft)), and first in the 400-meters (46.70) held in a pouring rainstorm. After day one, Eaton's points total of 4728 was more than 300 points ahead of second-place competitor Trey Hardee .On the second day of competition, Eaton finished first in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13.70. In the discus, however, he had an eighth place finish. He bounced back in the pole vault, posting a height of 5.30 metres (17.4 ft), good enough for first place. In the javelin throw, Eaton had a distance of 58.87 metres (193.1 ft) for fifth place. Going into the final event, the 1500-meter run, Eaton held a 317-point lead over his closest competitor, Hardee. Eaton ran a new personal best in the 1500-meters with a time of 4:14.48, finishing first. In the process, he brought his total score for the decathlon to 9039, breaking Roman Šebrle 's previous world record of 9026 points.[22] Eaton broke Dan O'Brien 'sAmerican record of 8891 points set in 1992.[23]


At the 2012 Olympics , Eaton's primary rival was (now) teammate Trey Hardee.Eaton's 10.35 100 metres was the top time of the day, with Hardee the next best.His 8.03 long jump was almost half a metre further than any other competitor, building him a sizeable lead. His 14.66 shot put was just 12 cm short of his personal record. And his 2.05 high jump tied with several members of the field for second best. In the final first day event his 46.90 400 metres was over a full second faster than anybody else in the field. His first day total was 4661, with a 220 point lead over Hardee.

Day two started with a virtual tie between Hardee and Eaton, Eaton getting 13.56 in the 110m hurdles. Eaton's discus throw of 42.53 gave up almost 6 metres and 120 points to Hardee, but by that point Eaton still had a 100 point lead. Eaton more than gained that back with a 5.20 pole vault , the third best competition. And in the javelin throw Hardee pulled back 70 points with a good throw, an advantage limited by Eaton setting a new personal best 61.96 in the event. With Eaton holding a 150+ point lead and a superior personal record in the 1500 metres over Hardee, the medals were already determined. Nobody made a serious run at improving their position, Eaton just went through the formality of completing the event in 4:33.59 to take the gold medal.

Major competition record 

Personal bests 

Eaton at the 2011 World Athletics Championships


As of August 9, 2012

World records