World decathlon record-holder Eaton and Olympic heptathlon bronze medallist Theisen-Eaton to hang up their spikes
Multi-event stars Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen-Eaton have announced their decisions to retire from athletics.
Competing at what would turn out to be their last major event, world decathlon record-holder Eaton won his second Olympic title in Rio last summer, while Theisen-Eaton claimed heptathlon bronze in Brazil.
“It’s my time to depart from athletics; to do something new,” Eaton wrote on the couple’s website. “Frankly there isn’t much more I want to do in sport.
“I gave the most physically robust years of my life to the discovery and pursuit of my limits in this domain. Did I reach them? Truthfully I’m not sure anyone really does. It seems like we tend to run out of time or will before we run out of potential. That makes humanity limitless then, as far as I’m concerned. And I think that’s inspiring.”
Announcing her retirement on Twitter, Theisen-Eaton wrote: “My passions and interests have changed. Track has given me so much, but it’s time to retire. Thank you for the journey.”
On weareeaton.com, she added: “I no longer have the passion for track and field or the heptathlon that I used to because I know I can’t advance any further in the sport; I’ve given it all I can, and I refuse to come back and half-ass it because I love and respect this event and sport too much. With that, I’ve decided to retire. It’s time to move on to my next passion, the next thing in the world I hope to make an impact in.”
Eaton first broke the world decathlon record at the 2012 US Olympic trials before improving it to 9045 points when successfully defending his world title in Beijing in 2015. He also holds the world record in the indoor heptathlon, with 6645 points achieved when the American claimed the first of his three world indoor titles in Istanbul in 2012.
Theisen-Eaton joined her husband in claiming world indoor gold in Portland last year as she won the pentathlon title to go with her silver from two years before. The 2014 Commonwealth champion, who also claimed two world heptathlon silver medals in 2013 and 2015, holds the Canadian records in both the heptathlon and pentathlon with 6808 points and 4881 respectively.
The couple, who are both aged 28, married in 2013.
Many fans and athletes took to Twitter to pay tribute to the couple and their careers, with Britain’s 2004 Olympic heptathlon bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton writing: “Very sad news to hear that @WeAreEaton @btheiseneaton and @AshtonJEaton have both retired. Amazing athletes. Wish you well in the next chapter!” While Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson commented: “Both of you will be truly missed.”
Britain’s 2012 Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill wrote: “Loved watching @AshtonJEaton dominate the decathlon what a huge talent and loved competing alongside @btheiseneaton what a competitor!”
Two-time world decathlon gold medallist Trey Hardee, who claimed 2012 Olympic silver behind team-mate Eaton, commented: “Man, we’re gonna miss him. @AshtonJEaton retires.”
— trey hardee (@treyhardee) January 4, 2017