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At the Summer Games in London, Ashton Eaton—the youngest to member of the U.S. decathlon team that year, at age 24—took home the decathlon gold medal.
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American decathlete Ashton Eaton was born in Portland, Oregon, on January 21, 1988. Excelling at track and field at a young age, Eaton began professionally competing in the decathlon and heptathlon in 2008. At the NCAA National Championships that year, as well as in 2009 and 2010, he placed first in the decathlon, with respective scores of 8,055, 8,241 and 8,457. He also won the heptathlon at the NCAA Championships in 2009 and 2010. Eaton made it to the U.S. Olympic trials in 2008,
but failed to make it to the Games after finishing fifth, with a score of 8,122. He finally made his Olympic debut in 2012, at the Summer Games in London—the youngest to member of the U.S. decathlon team that year, at age 24—and took home the gold medal.
Ashton James Eaton was born in Portland, Oregon, on January 21, 1988, and began excelling at track and field at a young age. His grandfather, James Eaton, was a halfback for Michigan State University.
In 2008, Eaton began professionally competing in the heptathlon, an event consisting of 60-meter and 1,000-meter races; the long jump and high jump; shot put; pole vault; and the 60-meter hurdles. He also began competing in the decathlon, which includes 10 grueling events: 100-meter, 400-meter and 1500-meter races; the long jump and high jump; the javelin and discus throw; shot put; pole vault; and 110-meter hurdles.
At the NCAA National Championships in 2008, as well as in 2009 and 2010, Eaton placed first in the decathlon, with respective scores of 8,055, 8,241 and 8,457. He also won the heptathlon at the NCAA Championships in 2009 and 2010. Eaton made it to the U.S. Olympic trials in 2008, but failed to make it to the Games after finishing fifth, with a score of 8,122.
By 2010, Eaton had become a three-time Pac-10 champion (winning in 2008, 2009 and 2010), and had been named both "Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year" and "Indoor Field Athlete of the Year" by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (both in 2010). He had also received the prestigious collegiate Bowerman Award, and had become a world indoor heptathlon record holder, with a top score of 6,645.
Eaton became a World Championship outdoor silver medalist, in 2011, and the following year, won the indoor gold medal at the World Championships. He also placed first in the decathlon at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in 2011, with a score of 8,729; and won there again in 2012, with a world record-breaking score of 9,039. Additionally, in 2012, he was named the U.S. indoor long jump champion.
After a disappointing performance at the Olympic trials in 2008, Eaton finally made his Olympic debut in 2012, at the Summer Games in London. The youngest member of the U.S. decathlon team, at age 24, Eaton surprised decathlon fans around the world when he won the event, taking home the gold medal.
Eaton is engaged to Brianne Theisen, also a heptathlete.
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