- Ashton Eaton has been dubbed the "World's Greatest Athlete." Can he keep the title in Rio?
The title of "World's Greatest Athlete" has traditionally been reserved for the Olympic decathlon champion. American Ashton Eaton is the best of the best after having set the world record twice and winning the 2012 Olympic gold medal—but he'll have to prove himself again in Rio de Janeiro.
The decathlon competition begins on Wednesday.
Get to know the gold-medal favorite.
Birthday: Jan. 21, 1988
Birthplace: La Pine, Ore.
Hometown: Eugene, Ore.
Weight: 185 lbs.
What makes him so great? Eaton competes in the decathlon, which consists of ten track and field events over two days. The 100 meters, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400 meters are contested in the first day. The 110-meter hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin and 1,500 meters are contested on the second day. Competitors earn points based on their performances in each event. Eaton holds the world record of 9,045 points, which he earned during the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing. In addition to his gold from last summer, he also won at the 2012 Olympics and 2013 world championships. Eaton is not just successful in the outdoor campaign; he holds the indoor heptathlon world record as well as his 2012, 2014 and 2016 world indoor championship gold medals.
How did he qualify for the Olympics? Eaton claimed the U.S. national title at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. It marked his fifth national title.
Biggest competition: Canada's Damian Warner took silver behind Eaton at last summer's world championships. His 8,695 point total is the Canadian record for the decathlon. Warner occasionally spends time training with Eaton. His 10.15 and 13.27 are world records for the decathlon in the 100 meters and 110-meter hurdles, respectively.
Eaton's full decathlon from the 2015 world championships
The closing meters of his 1,500-meter run for the world record
Critical acclaim from past Olympic greats:
Coach Harry Marra to the Oregonian : “Michael Jordan was a great athlete. Stephen Curry has unbelievable hand-to-eye coordination. Tom Brady can thread the needle throwing a pass. He has great hand-to-eye coordination. Could Ashton throw a football or play basketball better than those guys could pole vault or high jump or pole vault or throw the javelin? I think so. Don't you?”