In the first of a new series of reports, world and Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton looks back on the best aspects of his life as an elite athlete.
my best achievement:
Can I choose two? it’s a draw between my world record of 9039 in oregon and winning the olympic title in london. if I had to choose one, it would be my Olympic gold, as it represents the pinnacle of the sport.
Reading: Ashton eaton personal bests
my best advice as a coach:
I wouldn’t necessarily say advice, but rather my coach harry marra’s open-minded approach to training. a good example would be my shot put technique. i tried to do what everyone else did, but it was going nowhere and my coach, harry, was willing to try something different, which turned out well.
my biggest rival:
that’s easy for me. The person I struggle with the most is myself. I am always competing against myself much more than anyone else.
my best friend in athletics:
I have a number. I can honestly say that I like all of my competitors; trey hardee, thomas van der plaetsen, eelco syntnicolaas. Cuba’s Leonel Suarez (two-time Olympic bronze medalist) is a top guy. I don’t speak much Spanish and he speaks very little English but we have always gotten along well. he really pushed me at the 2011 world championships in daegu. we have shared the medal podium; he is a great competitor and a fun guy, always smiling. my great friend besides my wife, brianne, apart from my direct competitors, he is my coach, harry, I like to spend time with him. We have shared many ups and downs and I think he has been a great friend.
my best place:
I have two: Berlin and London. I competed in the 2009 world championships and there is something special about the stadium and surrounding area that had a great atmosphere. with these huge statues outside the stadium and walking into the main arena on the middle level and the track below it gave it a coliseum type feel. if berlin had a very old feeling about it, london’s olympic stadium had a very new feeling about it. the stadium was packed and it showcased the power of what athletics can be at its best.
my biggest disappointment:
was at the 2011 world championships in daegu. I know I learned more about myself there, but I was still pretty disappointed. Two months earlier he had posted an impressive score (8729) to win the US Nationals. It was my first professional year out of college and I thought all I had to do was do the same thing at the world championships, but it didn’t happen. my long jump and pole vault were the worst and it was only in the 1500m that I competed like I normally do. (ashton won silver in daegu).
the best athlete I’ve ever seen:
david rudisha might be the best athlete in track and field right now. maybe it’s because I run the 100m, 400m and 1500m, it helps me know what it takes to run 800m. I know it takes a certain kind of mental toughness. I also think Valerie Adams is amazing. his winning streak is unbelievable. even on his bad days, he beats people on his good days. however, the best athlete also begs the question; he is the greatest athlete who has all the talent or the one with the least amount of talent, but he is still competing at the highest level.
my greatest indulgence:
pretty much any of brianne’s (his wife’s) bakes. their pumpkin butterscotch cookies are amazing. he took them to a christmas party and i stayed with them all night recommending them. I probably ate seven!
my best athletic kit:
my triple jump sneakers. they have a double strap and are a bit heavier than a long jump or pole vault shoe, but as soon as I put those shoes on for the first time I thought I was going to jump really far in these shoes. I have long jumped 27 feet (8.23 m) in them and jumped all my pole vault points in them. If I could wear a shoe to a decathlon, these would be it.
steve landells for the iaaf