American Eaton retains decathlon title

Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:26pm EDT
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By Scott Malone

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - American Ashton Eaton won his second straight Olympic decathlon gold medal on Thursday, extending his reign in a sport whose champion earns the title of the world's greatest athlete.

Eaton edged France's Kevin Mayer, who had threatened his position with strong showings in the pole vault and javelin throw, into the silver medal position.

The twice world champion became just the third man to win the Olympic decathlon twice, a feat last achieved by Briton Daley Thompson at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

"To win two Olympic golds in a row like Daley Thompson is very special. One day, I'm going to have to meet Daley, shake his hand and thank him for giving me something to chase after," Eaton told reporters after tearfully embracing his Canadian wife Brianne Theisen-Eaton who won the bronze medal in the women's heptathlon.

His coach, Harry Marra, said Eaton's performance was all the more impressive given that he had thrown poorly in the javelin as a result of a sore shoulder from the pole vault.

"There's a lot of good athletes but sometimes when you go in the tank on an event, the rest of the whole meet goes in the tank. They don't, they just keep fighting back," Marra said, referring to Eaton and Theisen-Eaton, who he also coaches.

"Repeating a decathlon (gold), repeating when so many things can go wrong, that's impressive," Marra added. "It's historic."

Eaton, whose performance fell short of the world record he set last year in Beijing, said he had worked to improve his throwing events.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Athletics - Final - Men's Decathlon 1500m - Olympic Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 18/08/2016. Ashton Eaton (USA) of USA smiles while wearing the national flag. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson