“The beauty is the pursuit of the limit, not the limit itself” — Ashton Eaton
“Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it” — Steve Prefontaine
EUGENE, OR. With all due respect to Lebron and Syrian missile defenses, last month truly belonged to an emerging legend from Oregon, and set the stage for an epic event at this weeks Olympic Games. In an unbelievably awe-inspiring performance, Bend native Ashton James Eaton set the world record for the decathlon in the U.S. Olympic Trials amidst pouring rain in Eugene. Let me go ahead and repeat that last part: WORLD RECORD AMIDST POURING RAIN. Over the course of two typical Oregon spring days, Eaton absolutely dominated the field and reminded fans that the decathlon is back, and London better take notice. It was track and field’s version of the flu-stricken Michael Jordan NBA Finals Game. True greatness emerges when the stakes are the highest, the landscape volatile, and the athlete most tested. Sorry Mr. Phelps, the pool is old news. These Olympic Games will belong to Ashton and that 10 event monster.
Somewhere, Bruce Jenner just smiled…..And a Kardashian set her eyes on another target.
Let’s start from the beginning. First off, the point that sets the decathlon apart from any other Olympic event, is that you are truly 100% on your own, and you can not slip up, even once, over an entire 2 grueling days for that 1 illustrious gold. Scratch just one of the 4 races (100 m, 110 m hurdles, 400 m, and 1500 m) and you can say goodbye to gold, much less any medal. But just running would be too easy. So naturally the Olympic Gods spliced random field events into the fold, just to keep the athletes insane. Nice work Zeus. It’s really the Olympics’ version of The Hunger Games. If you don’t run, jump, leap, vault, hurdle, or throw giant spears on your way to victory…..You lose. Plain and simple. Side note, Katniss Everdeen and District 12 will not be performing in this year’s Olympics. Sadly, Everdeen’s drug use pertaining to ‘Nightlock’ renders her ineligible on competitive advantage. That’s correct I just worked The Hunger Games into the equation. You could say that I’m, ‘Catching Fire’ so to speak. Boom that’s two!
You know what’s not awesome? Christian Gray and Anastasia Steele. Really people?!? Awful. Simply awful. 50 Shades of Awful. America is doomed when 1,2,3 on the NY Times Bestseller list is 3 different volumes of excrement on paper. But I digress. Back to the decathlon.
Let’s just break it down, in order, by event.
The Decathlon and why you would fail and why Ashton will win:
Day 1 – Event 1: The 100 Meter Dash
Analysis: Pretty much anyone can do it, even your Grandpa on his Rascal. The easiest, quickest, and most remedial event. Which is one why this puppy goes first.
Ashton: Goes out and sets a world record for a decathlete in this event. In the rain. Not at all easy to do on slippery track.
Event 2: Long Jump
Analysis: Pretty much anyone can do it, even your Grandpa on his Rascal, with a ramp of course. Physically, the easiest field event, the quickest field event (3 jumps), and most remedial field event. Which is why this field puppy goes first.
Ashton: Goes out and sets a world record for a decathlete. In the rain. Did I mention that? So we are one hour into this event and records are falling just as quick as that Pacific NW drizzle.
Event 3: Shot Put
Analysis: The Iron Horse of events. I like to think the Decathlon was originally the Nonathlon (9 events). My reasoning being the only other true Olympic grinder is the 7 event Heptathlon, and that 7 and 9 event competitions coincide, but that Nonathlon just didn’t sound right. So Zeus looked at Hera who looked at Jupiter who looked at Aphrodite who looked at Saturn who looked at Pluto (Just kidding, he doesn’t belong, science zing), and they collectively agreed, “Whaddya say we just throw a big heavy stone or something, and make this thing a Deca?” Agreed. The birth of the decathlon. Or at least in my cool world, that’s how it transpired.
Ashton: Places. And by that I mean he threw that stone far. Much farther than you or I could. Fact.
Event 4: High Jump
Event 5: 400 meters
Day 2 – Event 6: 110 m Hurdles
Event 7 – Discuss
Event 8 – Pole Vault
Event 9 – Javelin
Oh you wanted results and insight? My apologies, but just try and find any articles that aren’t glory pieces and Bruce Jenner tributes on the web about the middle events. As I’m not a member of the AP and literally can not for the life of me find results on the middle events, I’ll just summarize. Ashton Eaton did one heck of a job in those middle events. One real heck of a job.
In reality, Ashton won an unprecedented 7 of 10 events but only received solid street credit for his sprint, long jump, and the 1500. He actually blew away the field. Unfortunately, you won’t find the AP writing stories about his dominance in winning the pole vault and setting a personal record or his conquering the illustrious discuss. I’m appalled. I’m also following suit. Sue me. I told you he did one heck of a job. You want to see more, tune into London real time and watch him become immortal. But wait we got one left….
Final Event: Event 10 – 1500 Meters
Stop reading now. I mean it. Look straight ahead. Undoubtedly, you are in your living room, or possibly an office environment, maybe just lounging on a couch. Imagine you are the most tired you ever been in your whole life. Combine that with being mentally exhausted beyond recognition. Now stand up and run as fast as you can for 4,921 feet. Or 16.4 football fields. Or from here to that TV in front of you 492.1 times back and forth. Dead tired.
Analysis: That’s why nobody can do it. Especially your Grandpa on his Rascal. Physically the hardest, most grueling, purely punishing event. That’s why this puppy goes dead last.
“With 600 meters to go, I became a firm believer that the Hayward magic does exist. I felt it for for 600 meters … I knew there was no way I was not going to get the world record” –Ashton Eaton
“I’m going to work so that it’s a pure guts race at the end, and if it is, I am the only one who can win it” — Steve Prefontaine
Ashton: Goes out and sets the overall decathlon world record with his scorching win in the 1500. Pure Guts. In the sun. The glorious sun. Ash also delivers a sledgehammer of a message that London is calling, and he’s answering. From the looks of the weather as the skies cleared on that final event in Eugene, the Greek gods abide. If you’re buying into the 5 ring circus that is the Olympics, this is the event to watch. One athlete’s singular pursuit of the limit, not the limit itself. The essence of Pre.
I’ll be watching.