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Mathew T George
Mathew T George

RIO 2016

Ashton Eaton

Decathlon, US

Did you know there were silicone wedding bands? Yup, silicone. They come in colours like Aqua Foxfire and Desert Rose. One model is called, ahem, the Men’s “Barbells for Boobs” White Sparkle model. See, you need to be a super outdoorsy and active couple to flaunt these rings. Ashton Eaton, 28, and wife Brianne Theisen-Eaton, 27, promote these rings.

The Eaton household is a divided one. He, the decathlete, will represent Team USA at Rio; she, the heptathlete, will represent Team Canada. Ashton married his college sweetheart, and University of Oregon teammate, in 2013. They went to London 2012 engaged. Ashton won the gold there, and Brianne finished 11th. In Rio, she will be looking for a golden gong to match his. And, if it is a double gold, they will be the first couple to do so.

Reports say that even as a toddler, Eaton was athletic. At four, he apparently wanted to become a ninja turtle and took up taekwondo. Eaton was a twice Oregon state high school champion, winning both the 400m and the long jump. But, surprisingly, he had never heard of decathlon before joining the University of Oregon. At the university, he began training under former US decathlete Harry Marra. Eaton credits his success to Marra’s single-minded focus on the event.

Even if Eaton were to retire today, he would be a legend of sorts. He has won the Olympic gold and multiple world championships. Since London 2012, he has won all major world titles, and has broken the world record twice. So, Rio is icing on the cake. If he wins a gold there, he would be one of three people to have consecutive wins in the event. The others are Team Britain’s Daley Thompson (1980, 1984) and Team US’s Bob (1948, 1952).

Being a competing couple is not easy on the body, and the mind. “The world’s fittest couple” is one of the monikers given to the Eatons. Ashton says Brianne is the one who introduces him to new food. But, both have confessed that they would put nutrition over flavour any day.

Breakfast be like “eggs, wheat toast, avocado, sausage and bananas”. Um, where is the peanut butter, guys? Ok, sorry! Don’t go for dinner, because it is mostly “buffalo chicken casserole with spaghetti squash”. Spaghetti squash is veggies shaved to look like spaghetti.

The Eatons collect Christmas orna-ments from places where they compete. In London, they bought a ceramic Christmas ornament of Big Ben and a red double-decker bus. And, from there they headed to Paris, where they bought, predictably, an ornament modelled after the Eiffel Tower.

From Beijing, where they went for the IAAF Championship in 2015, they bought customised ornaments with their names written in Mandarin. Where they do not get ornaments, they buy fridge magnets, remove the magnet, drill a hole and hang it up.

In Rio, they will be looking for golds, and also for an ornament modelled after Christ the Redeemer.

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