Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

August 10, 2012

OLYMPICS: USA's Eaton wins gold medal in decathlon

LONDON — Instead of one victory lap, Ashton Eaton got four.

His Olympic gold medal in the decathlon was all but sealed when he reached the last event, the 1,500 meters, where he simply needed to finish in an average time to win the event on Thursday night.

The world-record holder cruised over the four laps, crossed the line and - even as exhausted as he was - started celebrating.

Eaton finished the two-day competition with 8,869 points to defeat fellow American Trey Hardee by 198. It's the first time the Americans have gone 1-2 in the Olympic decathlon since Milton Gray Campbell and Rafer Johnson in 1956.

"That's what Trey and I really, really wanted," said Eaton, who's from Eugene, Ore.

Especially this year, on the 100th anniversary of the event. At the 1912 Olympics, Jim Thorpe won the inaugural title.

Thanks to Eaton, the decathlon gold is staying in the United States. Eaton joins 2008 winner Bryan Clay and, of course, Bruce Jenner, in earning the honor as "The World's Greatest Athlete."

Even Usain Bolt, the star of the night with his victory in the 200 meters, was impressed.

"I'm a great athlete, but to do 10 events, especially the 1,500 - I've got to give it to him," Bolt said.

Though the warm-and-sunny conditions in London were far better than the rain, wind and cold at U.S. Olympic trials in Oregon where Eaton broke the record earlier this summer, he fell short of the mark by 170 points.

Not that it mattered. His goal was simply to win a medal, not eclipse his world mark of 9,039 points.

"I'm satisfied," Eaton said as he struggled to put his accomplishment into words.

So Hardee did that for him.

Given that Eaton is just 24 and heading into his prime, Hardee's not sure anyone is going to catch up to him anytime soon.

"It's safe to say my reign is over," said Hardee, a two-time world champion. "I still think my best decathlon is ahead of me, but Ashton's are, too.

"As the days and weeks and months and years pass, I think Ashton and I will look back on this and realize how special it really is and what this really meant."

Eaton was consistent throughout the schedule. He started off by breaking Bill Toomey's 44-year-old Olympic record in the decathlon 100-meter dash and took off from there. He also scored the most points in the long jump and 400 meters.

His only lackluster event was the discus, where he finished 22nd and lost points to the field. But it really didn't matter as he built his lead back up in the pole vault, where he wound up third.

Soon after finishing the 1,500, Eaton was greeted by his fellow competitors, each giving him a congratulatory slap on the back. After hugging Hardee, Eaton dashed over to embrace his fiancee, Brianne Theisen.

"This is super hard to grasp," Eaton said. "For me, I want 10 perfect events. If I really felt like I was the world's greatest athlete, I'd get 10 great events. But I know that's pretty much not possible. That's the toughness of the decathlon."

Asked if winning gold was more difficult than breaking the world mark, Eaton chuckled and said, "Yeah."

"Decathlons in the U.S. are so much easier, because of the time frame," he said. "I think I competed in Eugene for the world record for a total of 13 hours. That's what we competed just today. These are way harder."

More satisfying, too.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0344web.jpg ‘Lucky 7’ comes through in the 3rd

    Over the course of his four-year baseball career at Verdigris High School, third baseman Ryan Skalnik has had his share of memorable at-bats.
    None more important than Tuesday’s appearance in the Large School East-West All-State Game at J.L. Johnson Stadium in Tulsa.
    Skalnik, who was the lone senior this season for Verdigris and a four-time Class 3A state champion, thrived under pressure in the top of the third inning for the East.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • BASEBALL: Larue, Skalnik power East to 3-0 victory

    The East blanked the West 3-0 in the Large School All-State Baseball Game Tuesday night at J. L. Johnson Stadium on the campus of Oral Roberts University.
    Claremore catcher Matt Whatley and third baseman Ryan Skalnik of Verdigris represented Rogers County in the contest.
    Skalnik finished 1-for-3 with a pair of RBI's.  Whatley was 0-for-1 with a walk.

    July 30, 2014

  • FISHFRYweb.jpg Claremore QB Club holds Fish Fry Aug. 2

    The Claremore Zebra Quarterback Club will hold its annual Fish Fry fundraiser on Aug. 2 at the Claremore High School cafeteria.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Iowa offers free tuition to boost football sales

    The University of Iowa is offering a year's worth of free tuition to five randomly selected students who've purchased season tickets for the 2014 football season.

    July 30, 2014

  • FOOTBALL: Auburn, Clemson agree to play in 2016, 2017

    Auburn and Clemson have agreed to play a home-and-home series in 2016 and 2017.

    The schools announced the deal on Wednesday.

    July 30, 2014

  • QB questions abound in SEC

    Quarterback battles and signal-caller questions abound in the Southeastern Conference going into preseason camps around the league.

    Big names, not so much.

    Division favorites Alabama and South Carolina will be banking on new starters. Ditto for Texas A&M, Georgia and defending East Division champion Missouri.

    July 30, 2014

  • MLB: Indians trade starting pitcher Justin Masterson to Cardinals

    Justin Masterson began the season as the Indians' ace. He'll end it with a different team in a different league.

    Cleveland traded the disappointing Masterson on Wednesday to the St. Louis Cardinals, a deal that will allow the Indians to get something in return for the 29-year-old righty who was in his final year under contract.

    July 30, 2014

  • Cop once drew gun on squirrel-hunting QB Winston

    Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and Florida State teammate Chris Casher were held at gunpoint by campus police nearly two years ago while hunting squirrels with a pellet gun, police say.

    July 30, 2014

  • NFL: Cowboys sign OL Tyron Smith to 8-year deal

    Tyron Smith has a new contract that will probably make him the most important blocker for the next Dallas quarterback after Tony Romo.

    The Pro Bowl left tackle signed an eight-year, $98 million extension Wednesday that pushes the total value of his deal to $110 million over 10 years, locking him up through 2023.

    July 30, 2014

  • NCAA proposed settlement raises medical questions

    A key feature of a proposed settlement of a head-injury lawsuit against the NCAA is the creation of a $70 million fund to pay for medical evaluations of current and former college players in several sports. The provision raises some sticky medical questions.

    July 30, 2014