Ashton Eaton was a world record-holder (for the first time) at 22, then a U.S. champion at 23. With 2011 marking his first profession season, Eaton was already one of, if not the best runner among world-class multi-event athletes. He also excels in the jumps and has improved his throws. Eaton won five NCAA championships at the University of Oregon and then gained a silver medal at the 2011 outdoor World Championships before reaching even greater heights in 2012.
Outdoor World Record:
Eaton won the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials with a world-record 9,039 points. He's the second decathlete to pass 9,000 points, beating Roman Sebrle's old mark of 9,026. He set all-time decathlon records for the 100 meters (10.21 seconds) and the long jump (8.23 meters/27 feet), plus a personal best in the pole vault (5.30/17-4½), before closing with a personal best 4:14.48 in the 1500 meters.
Eaton was a multi-talented athlete before he’d even considered trying the decathlon or heptathlon. He won Oregon high school state championships in the 400 meters and the long jump, and also competed in prep football and wrestling. It was his high school coach, Tate Metcalf, who informed Eaton that he was destined for multi-event competition in college.
Eaton competed in his first decathlon as a college freshman. It didn’t take him long to learn the ropes as he earned his first NCAA decathlon title as a sophomore. He’s the only performer to ever win three consecutive NCAA Division I decathlon championships, and he added a pair of heptathlon titles in his junior and senior years. The versatile Eaton also won Pac-10 conference championships in the 110 hurdles and the long jump as an Oregon senior.
Indoor World Record:
Eaton broke Dan O’Brien’s indoor heptathlon world record while winning the 2010 NCAA championship, scoring 6,499 points. He bettered the mark at International Indoor Combined Events meet in Tallinn, Estonia in February 2011, posting 6,568 points and setting five personal bests. He continued to improve in 2012, scoring 6,645 points while taking the heptathlon gold medal at the World Indoor Championships. He ran an Indoor Championship record 2:32.77 in the 1000 meters to close the competition after setting personal bests in the long jump and shot put.
Other Championship Meets:
Eaton was fifth, at age 20, in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials. He placed second in the 2009 U.S. Championships, then finished 18th at the World Championships. Shortly after setting the world decathlon record in 2012, Eaton captured Olympic gold in London, winning with 8,869 points. He dominated the decathlon competition at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, scoring 8,809 points to earn another gold medal. The following March, Eaton took a run at his indoor heptathlon world mark, falling just short in the final event. But his 6,632 points were easily enough to earn Eaton another World Indoor Championships gold medal.
- Height: 6-feet-1
- Weight: 185 pounds
- Birth date: Jan. 21, 1988
- Hometown: Bend, Ore.
- Personal best: Decathlon - 9,039 points; Indoor heptathlon - 6,645 points