Eaton hopes busy indoors will bring gold in Rio

Wed Feb 17, 2016 1:23pm EST
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By Gene Cherry

(Reuters) - A busy Ashton Eaton is hoping an indoor season filled with competitions coast-to-coast will help him gain entry into an exclusive club of back-to-back Olympic decathlon gold medal winners.

Already twice a world champion in the indoor heptathlon and outdoor decathlon and world record holder in each, the American is using meetings in North Carolina, Boston, New York and Portland to prepare for next month's world indoor championships and August's Rio Olympics.

A victory in Rio would propel the IAAF athlete of the year to a status only American Bob Mathias and Britain's Daley Thompson enjoy as winners of consecutive Olympic gold medals in the 10-event decathlon.

Mathias achieved the honor with first place finishes at the 1948 and 1952 Games. Thompson followed in 1980 and 1984.

Eaton, the only man to score 9,000 points twice in the decathlon and a favorite for Rio, seemed to try and deflect the pressure that going for double Olympic gold will surely bring.

"To get them, it's nice," he told Reuters. "But the nice part is trying to get there."

Self-motivation will be a key, the 28-year-old Oregonian admitted.

No decathlete came within 300 points of his record-breaking 9,045 points last year.   Continued...

Ashton Eaton of the U.S. celebrates after winning the men's decathlon and breaking the world record during the 15th IAAF Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing, China, August 29, 2015.      REUTERS/Damir Sagolj