Ashton Eaton just became the first man to repeat as the Olympic decathlon champion in 32 years. Eaton won the competition by 59 points over France’s Kevin Mayer and in the process became just the third man to win back-to-back decathlons.
Eaton won the long jump and 400 meters during the competition, while posting the second-best scores in the 110 meter hurdles and 100 meters, and finishing fourth in the pole vault and 1500 meters.
Mayer trailed Eaton by 44 points entering the 1500 meters, which is the decathlon’s final event. Eaton trailed Mayer closely around the track and kept the Frechman in his sights the entire way. On the final lap, Eaton reached down deep, found some extra speed and ran right by Mayer on the back stretch, then pulled away through the turn to cross the line in 4:23.33.
It was one of the more dramatic scenes of the 2016 Olympics so far. Mayer finished in 4:25.49 and took the silver.
Australia’s Daley Thompson won the decathlon at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, and America’s Bob Mathias did it in 1948 and 1952. That’s an exclusive club Eaton just joined, and he equaled Roman Sebrle’s Olympic record of 8,893 points.
Eaton is still just 28 and could probably make another run at a medal in four years at the Tokyo Olympics. We’ll see if he can hang around and try to make history in 2020.