Ashton Eaton

Eugene, Oregon is becoming a sports Mecca with hosting the 2021 World Championships

Eugene, Oregon is becoming a sports Mecca with hosting the 2021 World Championships

Tracktown USA will never be the same. It only keeps growing not just on a national scale, but global.

It is a big deal that the United States, and more specifically Eugene, Oregon, landed the 2021 World Track and Field Championships at historic Hayward Field.

Former Oregon Track and Field star and Olympian Ashton Eaton joins the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent.

Here is an idea of the scale of this event:

The World Championships was a plan that was in the minds of folks who were building up the Oregon track program, Hayward Field and the ‘Tracktown’ idea years ago. And so, in order to get to that point, the 2008 Olympic Trials had to be had, 2012, 2016 and now 2021. So these things were all not random. They were leading up to this moment of bringing the entire world of track and field to Hayward Field, to Eugene, Oregon. -- Ashton Eaton

It was not a coincidence. It was not random. It was pre-planned and thought out to have Eugene be the home to such a prestigious world showcase.

It’s one of the biggest sporting events in Oregon history making it one of the biggest deals, I think in sport and Oregon history. Oregon is solidifying itself as definitely a track and field Mecca in the United States, but I think it’s starting to become almost a sport Mecca too where you see investment in these facilities, investment in these global events. — Ashton Eaton

The event will start on Friday, August 6, 2021 and will end on Sunday, August 15, 2021.

If you drive by Hayward Field today as it stands today, you may notice that it looks drastically different. The facility is getting a face lift, which comes at an abomination to some but a positive change to others. Some may even ague that if Hayward did not go through these modern renovations, the World Championships wouldn’t have even considered Eugene a host site for the event.

But Tracktown USA is only getting better and better.

You can listen to the full Talkin’ Ducks Podcast below:

Ashton Eaton advises fellow Olympian athletes to take advantage of this extra time

Ashton Eaton advises fellow Olympian athletes to take advantage of this extra time

Sometimes, the best kind of training is to re-train not just your body but your mind.

Finding a new way to train for a sport can be high beneficial in the long run.

That is the exact advice that former Oregon Duck Track and Field star and Olympian Ashton Eaton would give to other Olympians who had their Olympic training interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I would say, you have to use pretty much every adverse scenario as an athlete somehow to your advantage. Every step backward could potentially be a step forward. This could be an opportunity for you to really get more prepared for the Olympic Games. — Ashton Eaton

So I think you can use this ‘extra time’ if you will, to your advantage and just focusing on your training and getting better. — Ashton Eaton

You heard it also on the Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with Oregon men’s basketball guard Payton Pritchard. Since being forced inside with the StayHome initiative, Pritchard has continued sharpening his craft and doing his dribbling routine in his garage while also running the hills of West Linn, Oregon.

Ashton Eaton’s most memorable moments at historic Hayward Field

Ashton Eaton’s most memorable moments at historic Hayward Field

They don’t call Eugene, Oregon ‘Tracktown USA’ for nothing.

Hayward Field, built in 1919 and home to the University of Oregon Track & Field teams, isn’t just recognized at the collegiate level, but on the national stage. 

Every passing season has brought changes, but the two constants have been excellence and accolades. More USA Olympic Track and Field Trials and NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships hosted than any other venue; more “World’s Greatest Athlete” titles bestowed upon decathlon world record breakers than at any other venue; and more incredible performances than you could name in the time it took Pre to run a mile. (Hayward Field history).

When it was announced that historic Hayward Field would be remodeled, there was a lot of emotion on both ends of the spectrum. Some were happy about the remodel, making the stadium safer for fans and spectators, new track and field surface, updated design, etc. However, there was definitely some backlash as well for those who shared an emotional connection with the history of what made Tracktown USA so special.

Here are just some of the highlights:

- Hosted first NCAA Championships in 1962

- Football played its last game in Hayward Field in 1966

- Hosted U.S. Olympic Trials in 1972

- Appeared in the movie ‘Animal House’ in 1978

- Hosted IAAF World Junior Championships in 2014

Former Oregon track star and Olympian Ashton Eaton joins host Jordan Kent on the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast.

Eaton shared some of his favorite memories at the historic Hayward Field, specifically the Olympic Trials in 2012. 

I remember sitting basically off to the side where the 1500 meter starts for the decathalon. I was about to run, I knew I had to run a certain time to break the world record. I was basically sitting in the storage shed with the decathletes getting ready to run. I just remember it being really quiet in there, which is not normal for decathletes together waiting for an event. — Ashton Eaton

This is where things got interesting…

I think everyone just knew what was happening. My friends and athletes came up to me and said ‘Hey, just let us know if you need help. We’re here for you man, we think you can do it.’ Just that moment, sitting at Hayward knowing there’s fans out there waiting, knowing that 1500 meter line is the first place I remember meeting my future wife (Brianne). So many memories just bottled up into that moment. — Ashton Eaton

Eaton went on to break the world record in 2012 with 9,039 points to beat Roman Sebrle's 11-year-old mark by 13 points.

You can listen to the full Talkin’ Ducks Podcast here:

Olympic Champion Ashton Eaton retires from Decathlon

Olympic Champion Ashton Eaton retires from Decathlon

Two-time Olympic decathlon gold medalist Ashton Eaton announced his retirement with a statement posted to his web site, calling it “my time to depart from athletics.”

Four years after taking gold in the 2012 London Games, Eaton, 28, defended his Olympic title in Rio last year. He also holds the overall world record, set at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, and the world record in the heptathlon set in Turkey in 2012.

Eaton's new Twitter bio reads: "I'm deciding what to do next. Being the 1st person on Mars would be cool. Other interests are; education, transportation infrastructure, architecture, & energy."

Heptathlete Brianne Theisen-Eaton also announced her retirement on the couple's website. Theisen-Eaton, who represents Canada, won the bronze medal in Rio. 

The most underrated performances of the Olympics belong to Ducks

The most underrated performances of the Olympics belong to Ducks

Yes, there was Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt and Simone Biles -- they turned in spectacular performances in Rio. But please let's not forget what a trio of former Oregon Ducks pulled off in the Olympics. We're talking about historically significant stuff from Ashton Eaton, Matthew Centrowitz and Galen Rupp.

Eaton, competing in an event that used to be the centerpiece of the Olympics, won his second gold medal -- only the third man to take gold in the decathlon in back-to-back Olympics. Humble, polite and poised, he doesn't even like that "World's Greatest Athlete" label that usually goes with winning an Olympic decathlon gold medal. I hope he finds a challenging and fulfilling next chapter in his life. Certainly he's got the kind of versatility and poise to succeed in many different pursuits.

Centrowitz won the gold medal in the 1,500 meters, something that hadn't been done by a U.S. runner in more than a century. That's difficult to believe, in that this country has produced some terrific milers. Seriously, Centrowitz did something that Jim Ryun, Wes Santee, Steve Scott, Marty Liquori and so many others couldn't do. The list of great U.S. milers and 1,500-meter runners includes so many Ducks, too. I'll list just some of them, knowing full well I'll think of a few more later: Dyrol Burleson, Jim Grelle, Keith Forman, Roscoe Divine, Wade Bell, Dave Wilborn, Steve Prefontaine, Paul Geis, Rudy Chapa and even Matt Centrowitz Sr.

To do something that hasn't been done by an American since 1908 by is pretty amazing.

Rupp didn't come away with a gold medal. He settled for third in the marathon but considering it was just the second one he's ever run it was an amazing performance. Rupp has seemed to be searching for his best race and perhaps he's found it in the marathon, which is such a punishing discipline. He's successfully run every distance from the mile through 5,000 and 10,000 meters before trying 26 miles. He's got charisma and obvious toughness and someday he's going to bring a gold medal back to Portland.

There were other Ducks in Rio, of course. But this trio was the most special.

 

 

Ashton Eaton takes Olympic Decathlon lead

Ashton Eaton takes Olympic Decathlon lead

RIO DE JANEIRO – Ashton Eaton did something on Wednesday that he had not done since his junior year at Oregon in 2009. He trailed after the first event of the decathlon.

Eaton charged back over the course of the final four events of day one to take a 121 point lead heading into Thursday’s final day of the Olympic decathlon. Perhaps just as impressive as he looks to become the first American to repeat in the decathlon in more than half a century is that Eaton is on pace for an Olympic record.

Eaton scored 4,621 points through five events. Kai Kazmirek of Germany was second with 4,500 points, followed by Damian Warner of Canada (4,489), Kevin Mayer of France (4,435) and American Jeremy Taiwo (4,419).

The Olympic record of 8,893 points was set by Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic in 2004. The last American to win back-to-back decathlon titles was Bob Mathias in 1948 and 1952.

The start of the decathlon was anything but typical for the speedy Eaton.

He ran 10.46 to finish second in the 100 meters behind Warner who had a swift 10.30. That left Eaton in the rare position of being 48 points behind after an event that is one of Eaton’s strongest.

Fortunately, the rest of the day went well for Oregon’s five-time NCAA champion.

He reached 26-0.75 on his second attempt in the long jump to score 1,045 points and take the overall lead.

Eaton followed that with a solid effort in the shot put, 48-4, to maintain his slim lead.

He then had a season best clearance in the high jump of 6-7, just missing on his third attempt at 6-8.25.

Eaton then closed out day one in style by winning the 400 meters in 46.07 that was good for 1,005 points, pushing his lead to the widest margin of the competition.

Another competitor made history for Oregon on Wednesday. Sophomore Deajah Stevens finished seventh in the final of the women’s 200 meters in 22.65. She became the Duck woman to make an Olympic sprint final as an undergrad.

Neither Duck alum was able to advance to the final in the men’s javelin. 

Cyrus Hostetler had a best throw of 261-8, which was 20th overall. Sam Crouser, competing in the Olympics for the first time, was 34th with a best mark of 242-0.

The track and field portion of the 2016 Summer Olympics continues with a school-record 17 current and former Ducks in Rio (11 on Team USA, three for Canada, and one each for Australia, Greece and Guatemala). This is the 20th straight Olympiad in which the University of Oregon has been represented, a streak that dates to the 1932 Games in Los Angeles.

In addition to the 17 current and former Ducks competing in Rio, the head coach of the U.S. Men’s Track and Field team is UO associate athletic director Vin Lananna.

GoDucks.com will provide a daily Olympics version of “What to Watch,” as well as a recap of Ducks in competition through the remainder of the Games.

What to Watch – Thursday, August 18

Ashton Eaton looks to become the first American to win back-to-back Olympic decathlon titles in more than 60 years as the 10-event competition wraps up on Thursday. Meanwhile, Matthew Centrowitz hopes to make his second straight Olympic 1,500 meter final, and a trio of Ducks could help the U.S. make the final of the 4x100 meter relay.

Eaton’s quest for an historic gold medal in the decathlon continues Thursday. Eaton, a five-time NCAA champion for Oregon, is the world record-holder in the decathlon, having scored 9,045 points at the 2015 IAAF World Championships.

Not only could he become the first repeat American decathlon champion in a half a century, he could also threaten the Olympic record of 8,893 points set by Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic in 2004. The last American to win back-to-back decathlon titles was Bob Mathias in 1948 and 1952.

Eaton was the 2012 Olympic champion in London and has also won the last two IAAF World championships (2013, 2015).

The women’s 4x100 meters heats get underway Thursday with the United States among a half-dozen medal contenders along with Jamaica, Great Britain, China, France and Canada. Three runners with Oregon connections are in the relay pool. Freshman Ariana Washington was the 2016 NCAA champion at both 100 and 200 meters. Alum English Gardner placed seventh in the Olympic 100 meters earlier this week, while Jenna Prandini made the semifinals of the 200 meters.

Former Duck Matthew Centrowitz continues his bid to medal in the 1,500 meters. Centrowitz was fourth in the 1,500 at the 2012 London Olympics and won the IAAF World indoor title at 1,500 meters earlier this year in Portland, Ore.

Among the faster runners in his heat (heat two) are Elijah Manangoi of Kenya, Ryan Gregson of Australia and Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti.

The favorite in the 1,500, Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop, runs in heat one. Kiprop won gold at the 2008 Beijing Games, before a shocking 12th place finish in London. Kiprop has also won the last three IAAF World outdoor 1,500 meter titles.

Schedule – Thursday, August 18

All times Pacific

5:30 a.m. Ashton Eaton (USA) Decathlon 110 Meter Hurdles

6:25 a.m. Ashton Eaton (USA) Decathlon Discus

7:20 a.m. English Gardner/Jenna Prandini/Ariana Washington (USA) Women’s 4x100 Meter Relay - Heats

9:25 a.m. Ashton Eaton (USA) Decathlon Pole Vault

2:35 p.m. Ashton Eaton (USA) Decathlon Javelin

4:45 p.m. Matthew Centrowitz (USA) Men’s 1,500 Meters – Semifinals

5:45 p.m. Ashton Eaton (USA) Decathlon 1,500 Meters