(1.85M) Ashton James Eaton (born January 2, 1988) is an American decathlete,
who holds the world record in both the decathlon and heptathlon events,
and is only the second decathlete (after Roman Šebrle) to break the
9,000-point barrier, with 9,039 points. He competes for the Oregon Track
Club Elite team based in Eugene, Oregon. In college, Eaton competed for
the University of Oregon, where he was a five-time NCAA champion, and
won The Bowerman award in 2010. He won a silver medal at the 2011 World
Championships. He won the gold medal while representing the United
States in the decathlon at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Eaton was born in Portland, Oregon, on January 2, 1988, the only child of Roslyn Eaton and Terrance Wilson. His father is African-American and his mother is of European descent. 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. He has three paternal siblings, including Verice Bennett, a gunnery sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, who received the Silver Star in December 20 for serving with valor in Afghanistan.
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. 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. When Eaton was in the fifth grade, he and his mother relocated to Bend, Oregon, where he attended Mountain View High School in Bend.
Interested in track and field, he was coached by Tate Metcalf and John Nosler. In 2006, he won the state high school 400 meters 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. Metcalf suggested that Eaton attend a university with a strong decathlon program, and Eaton chose the University of Oregon.
Eaton married his University of Oregon teammate, Canadian multi-event athlete Brianne Theisen, on July 15, 2013, one year after both competed in the London Olympics. The two first met in 2006 during Eaton's freshman year at Oregon and fell in love at the 2007 Pan American Junior Athletics Championships, held in Brazil: Theisen won the gold medal for Canada and then followed Eaton back to Eugene to enroll at the University of Oregon.
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