Rio Olympics 2016 day 12 kicked off with decathlon on Wednesday morning. Decathlete Ashton Eaton, the 2012 Olympic gold medallist, is back and his focus, this time, is to retain his golden crown.
His quest began with a promising start on Wednesday in the two-day, 10 competition event. The 28-year-old decathlete finished second in the 100 m and won the long jump by a massive 25 cm.
In June, he managed to qualify for the 2016 US track and field team with a minor injury. However, even 10 days before his qualification, he was unsure of whether he would at all be able to compete.
Being the youngest member of the Team USA back in 2012, he felt like an underdog. But things have taken changed now.
“Now I feel like a veteran. Now I am confident and have a wide range of experiences. I am confident that I can handle any situation thrown my way,” the NBC News quoted Ashton Eaton as saying.
His aptitude for athletics developed when he was still in high school. He gave soccer, football, wrestling, baseball, track and even taekwondo a try, but it was the track that allowed him to attend college. Ashton Eaton went to the University of Oregon, which gave him the opportunity to train exclusively in decathlon.
By the time he graduated from college he already had five NCAA Championships titles to his credit. This put him under the pressure of higher expectations.
“Everyone expected me to [make the team] as the defending champ,” he said. “But people don’t realize that everything has to fall in place properly as well. There are a lot of talented guys in the decathlon in the US and that showed at the trials, where even with Trey Hardee out and injured, Zack Ziemek and Jeremy Taiwo stepped up and established themselves as real medal contenders.”
The world-record holder in decathlon is married to Brianne Theisen, a native of Canada who herself is one of the most decorated female athletes in the world. Theisen, 27, bagged silver in the heptathlon at the World Championships of 2013 and 2015 and a bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the Heavy.com reported.
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