Theisen Wins Gotzis

Theisen hits big time with Götzis victory

The former UO heptathlete tops a world-class field in Austrian meet



Former Oregon standout Brianne Theisen scored 6,376 points to win the prestigious Hypo Meeting heptathlon on Sunday in Goetzis, Austria. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)


Brianne Theisen is no longer a small fish in a big pond.

The Canadian Olympian and former University of Oregon star proved she belonged with the world’s best multi-event competitors by winning the heptathlon at the Hypo Meeting in Götzis, Austria on Sunday.

Theisen, 24, finished with 6,376 points to earn the title by 31 points over runner-up Nadine Broersen of The Netherlands.

“This is big for Bri,” her coach, Harry Marra, said. “She didn’t win a single event, but she was steady all the way through, and that’s exactly how we train.”

Theisen came into the second day of competition with a five-point lead over the field of 26 heptathletes.

Despite cold, wet and windy conditions, she placed fourth in the long jump with a leap of 20 feet, 11 3/4 inches, briefly losing her lead to Dafne Schippers of The Netherlands.

Theisen was back atop the leaderboard after the javelin with a mark of 140-10, and she closed out the meet by clocking 2 minutes, 17.04 seconds in the 800.

In the final event, Theisen sat behind the three other heptathletes still in title contention for the first lap, and then blew past them on the home stretch to clinch the victory.

Broersen settled for second at 6,345 points, followed by Schippers at 6,287 and Russia’s Tatyana Chernova at 6,284. Sharon Day, the lone American competitor, no-heighted in the high jump on day one and didn’t finish the event.

“Aside from the two throwing events it was almost perfect. This was so great,” Theisen told The Associated Press, adding that the cold and the wind hadn’t bothered her. “Maybe that was my advantage as I am used to this kind of weather.”

Theisen’s season-opening performance was only 64 points shy of her personal best of 6,440. She established that mark in claiming her third NCAA heptathlon crown for the Ducks last June.

She placed 11th at the London Olympics last summer with 6,383 points.

Theisen, who now competes for Oregon Track Club Elite, got the job done in Götzis even without her No. 1 fan in attendance.

Her fiancé, Ashton Eaton, withdrew from the meet one week ago because of a minor leg injury. Marra said he didn’t want to risk further injury with the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships less than a month away.

As it turned out, Damian Warner made it a clean sweep for Canada with a winning score of 8,307 points in the decathlon.

Brazil’s Carlos Chinn was second at 8,182 and American Gunnar Nixon third at 8,136.

It’s the first time two athletes from the same country have won both events at Götzis since 1988 when East Germany’s Uwe Freimuth and Anke Behmer triumphed.

Theisen and Warner are both scheduled to compete in the Canadian Track & Field Championships, June 20-24, in Moncton, New Brunswick. It’s the qualifying meet for the IAAF World Championships in Moscow.