Series31 Mar 2014

Work, rest and play – Ashton Eaton


Ashton Eaton in the heptathlon pole vault at the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot (© Getty Images)

Ashton Eaton has been the world’s dominant combined-eventer over the past few seasons so we thought it was time to take a peek into the life of the US all-rounder.

Earlier this month, Eaton successfully defended his heptathlon title at the IAAF World Indoor Championships and he is the reigning world and Olympic decathlon champion, as well as being the world record-holder for the indoor and outdoor combined-event discipline.


What is your favourite training session and why?

AE: The Wednesday session is my favourite because it’s the hardest. I get nervous for the running and I like that feeling of fear and overcoming it.

What is your least favourite training session

AE: My least favourite is lifting. I’m not much of a gym rat, I’d rather be running, but if it enables me to run faster then I guess I can tough it out.

What are your three favourite things about being an athlete?

AE: 1 - Having fans. 2 - Being able to make my body do cool things. 3 - Knowing that if there is a zombie apocalypse I have a higher chance of survival versus someone slower and less agile. 

Who is your favourite training partner and why?

AE: Myself. I compete against myself in competitions anyway so I train against myself in practice.

Where is your favourite training venue and why?

AE: Hayward Field (Eugene, Oregon). That place and I have a special connection.

What is the worst thing about being an athlete?

AE: You can’t do a lot of the fun things you’d like to: snowboarding, parkour, cliff jumping, F1 racing. You’re pretty much married to the couch.


What is your favourite music to chill to?

AE: The losing cries of my opponents as I’m playing Xbox.

Describe your perfect day without training.

AE: Sleep in, eat something unhealthy (Danish pastries, yeaaaaaaaaaah) play Xbox for a couple hours (x3), check the mail, eat a snack, read random stuff on the internet, do something outdoors, answer emails, go to bed.

What is your favourite stress reliever?

AE: Floating in a swimming pool then sitting in the steam room.

If you could pick any other athlete in the world with whom to relax, who would it be and why?

AE: Brianne Theisen-Eaton (Ashton’s wife), because she’s the bomb.

What is your favourite meal?

AE: Macaroni and cheese


When and why did your passion for taekwondo begin?

AE: When I was growing up, I used to watch Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles. It seemed like every movie had someone doing martial arts in it so I would go around punching and kicking trees. My mom took me to a taekwondo class and I fell in love. I was seven years old.

What standard did you reach and what was your best competitive memory?

AE: I’m a second degree black belt. My best competition memory was competing at the World Games in Hollywood in 2000. I was a wild card but fought my way to sixth place.

Why and when did you quit taekwondo?

AE: I never quit, my instructors moved away and I was so invested in that school I didn’t want to go somewhere else so I just stopped training.

How did your background in taekwondo help your athletics?

AE: From the age of seven, I basically started practicing my hand-eye and foot coordination, balance, strength, endurance, discipline, and mental toughness three days a week until I was about 15.

If you could select one other track and field athlete (other than yourself) to be your toughest taekwondo opponent, who would it be and why?

AE: Bryan Clay (the 2008 Olympic decathlon champion) would be a worthy adversary. He’s explosive and powerful and has a low centre of gravity which makes for good balance and side-to-side quickness.

Steve Landells for the IAAF