Track and Field: Ashton Eaton Breaks Own World Decathlon Record, Looks Ready For More Olympic Gold


I would prefer that Oregon native, University of Oregon graduate and Eugene resident Ashton Eaton only break the decathlon world record at his home track, the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, and maybe he would as well. But athletes can’t choose where and when they break a record. If they train and prepare well enough then records can fall anywhere at any time.

More from Oregon Ducks

It always helps, though, if an athlete is ready to break a world record at a world championships, which is exactly what Eaton did last weekend at the 2015 Track and Field World Championships in Beijing, bettering his 2012 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials mark by six points. The new record is 9,045 points, his previous was 9,039 at a rain-soaked Hayward Field.

Like 2012 he had the latest gold medal in hand after the first day, when he set two decathlon records in the running events. Eaton is essentially a “track” guy who also does “field,” as opposed to the other way around that’s typical of most decathletes, so these weren’t out-of-the-box results. He opened the day with a 10.23 in the 100-meter dash, a world championships record, and closed it with a decathlon best-ever 45-second mark in the 400 meters (which would have been sixth in the actual event).

“The first day, you’re an athlete, anyone can do the first day,” Eaton told the Associated Press. “The second day, you’re a decathlete.”

He admitted to not sleeping well after day one because he thought he could break his own record. In 2012 I remember him saying that he didn’t even think about breaking the world record until his coach Harry Marra told him he could partway through day two. This time he knew what was possible from the start, and it clearly weighed on his mind.

Ashton Eaton:”Anyone can do the first day. The second day, you’re a decathlete.”

It’s worth noting that Eaton said that he felt better after the second-to-last event, the javelin, which happens to be his wife’s most mentally challenging discipline. Brianne Theisen-Eaton, who won silver in the heptathlon at these same world championships, admits that the javelin is her Achilles heel, and wrote a revealing blog post on their website about it after her competition.

I feel like somehow these two things are connected, although not being part of their inner circle I can’t tell you how. Perhaps Ashton wanted to show Brianne that the javelin is not the devil. Perhaps Brianne’s worries about the event had seeped into Ashton’s head.

Either way, he threw it a season-best 63.63 meters, close to 209 feet, and felt more comfortable about the final event, the 1500-meters. In order to break his Hayward Field 2012 mark he needed to run under 4:18.25, and he finished in 4:17.52, about a third of a second difference.

“I knew with 300 meters to go that I was behind, and I said, ‘Oh crap! I better go’,” Eaton told Reuters News Service. “I could see the Algerian Larbi (Bouraada) in front of me and I used him. I could tell, he sped up. I caught up again and he sped up again. So I thank him for that.”

As for trying to break the record again, Eaton said absolutely.

“You can bet I’m going try to get more,” Eaton told the AP. “Because that’s the only thing to do.”

As if the Hayward faithful wasn’t looking forward to watching Ashton Eaton at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials already.

Next: Oregon Volleyball Starts Season 3-0