Portland, Ore (Reuters) - The world finally saw at the world indoor championships on Friday what Brianne Theisen-Eaton’s husband sees every day.
A gutsy concluding run that overcame seemingly insurmountable odds powered the Canadian multi-event athlete to her first global gold in the pentathlon at Portland, ending a string of frustrating second places.
Down 150 points to Ukraine’s Anastasiya Mokhnyuk in the closing race of the five-event competition, the 800 meters, Theisen-Eaton found a way eke out victory.
“It was all a blur,” the 27-year-old said after she and American husband Ashton Eaton, the decathlon and indoor heptathlon world record holder, joyfully embraced
With Eaton and his fellow competitors screaming, “You can win! You can win!” she did, clocking 2:09.99 to finish on 4,881 points, the best score in the world this year and a Canadian record.
“The gold medal is great but I am most proud of myself for executing this competition mentally the way that we planned,” she said.
Last August, she had entered the world outdoor championships in Beijing with the leading heptathlon score of the year, but wound up second to British Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill.
“I was bitter because I did not perform how I should have,” she told Reuters in an interview earlier this year. “I let my mental side gets the best of me.”
But on Friday, the world saw her toughness when the pressure was at its highest.
“It is no secret that she has been getting second quite a bit,” said Eaton, the Olympic and world champion.
“And with me around, it is tough for her, and she struggles to overcome those things. Today she did it.
“She is a tough woman and today you saw something I see every day.”
Now it is Eaton’s turn after the American ensured he would carry a 63-point lead in the second day of the heptathlon.
A victory in the event on Saturday would make the couple the first husband and wife team to win gold medals in the multi-events at a world championship.
A feat they would like to repeat at the Rio Olympics.
Editing by John O'Brien