Ashton Eaton of the United States can officially call himself the “World’s Greatest Athlete.”
After two grueling days of competition, Eaton, 24, finally claimed the gold medal in the men’s decathlon, narrowly edging out fellow American Trey Hardee.
Eaton finished the competition with 8,869 points to defeat Hardee by 198. It’s the first time the Americans have gone 1-2 in the Olympic decathlon since Milton Gray Campbell and Rafer Johnson in 1956, ABC writes.
“That’s what Trey and I really, really wanted,” said Eaton, following his amazing performance. “There’s a really good history with U.S. decathletes. This is the 100th anniversary (of the decathlon.) It started back in 1912 with Jim Thorpe, and Trey and I are doing our best to carry it on.”
For those of you unfamiliar with the decathlon, which is considered by many athletes as the most challenging track and field event in existence, the competition spans two days and consists of 10 separate events.
Those events include 4 races: the 100-meter and 400-meter sprints, the 100-meter hurtles, and the 1500-meter run.
This is combined with 3 throwing events: the shot put, discus throw, and javelin throw. There are also 2 jumps: the long jump and high jump, and the pole vault.
Points are awarded for the competitor’s effort in each event, and the overall score determines the winner.
Out of the 22 decathlons that have been held at the modern Olympics, an athlete from the United States has finished first 13 times including Eaton’s gold in the 2012 games.
When asked if he now considers himself to be the greatest athlete ever, Eaton remained tight lipped. His fellow decathlete and former world champion Hardee, however, was quick to sing the gold medal winner praises.
“So Ashton doesn’t have to sound selfish or self-centered, Ashton is the best athlete to ever walk the planet, hands down,” Hardee said.