Fri | May 26, 2017

Eaton begins defence of decathlon title

Published:Friday | August 28, 2015 | 8:00 AM

BEIJING (AP):

Ashton Eaton is in good shape, maybe even his best shape in quite a while. Mentally, he's as strong as ever, too.

Watch out world record.

The Olympic decathlon champion believes his best-ever mark could be in jeopardy at the world championships. His quest begins today with the 100-meter run, the first of 10 events over the two-day competition.

Eaton's record stands at 9,039 points, a total he reached at the US Olympic trials for the 2012 London Games. He went on to win a gold medal.

Last season, Eaton didn't compete in any decathlon events. Instead, he dabbled in the 400-metre hurdles, which isn't part of the decathlon programme, just to keep his workouts fresh.

"Physically, I can say I'm very capable of (the record) right now," said Eaton, who will wear a cooling hood designed by his sponsor in between events. "If it comes down to the last event, the 1,500 metres, I'm going for it. There's no question."

For a week, Eaton has been a spectator. He watched his wife, Brianne Theisen-Eaton, struggle early in the heptathlon, only to rebound to earn silver. He watched his American teammates stumble to a slow start in the medal count.

He's sick of watching.

Eaton had a suggestion for the meet organisers: Put the decathlon first again, like in Moscow when he won gold. That way, he could kick back and enjoy the action.

"When I'm later in the competition, I get antsy," the 27-year-old Eaton said. "I'm seeing everybody else go and achieve things. It's like I'm just twiddling my thumbs."

He will certainly have his hands full against Trey Hardee, the 2011 world champion. These two have a robust but friendly rivalry, conversing all the time through Twitter.