The world’s most athletic couple is retiring together.
Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen-Eaton announced the ends of their track and field careers Wednesday.
The announcement came less than five months after Eaton repeated as Olympic decathlon champion and Theisen-Eaton earned heptathlon bronze in Rio, becoming the first Canadian to make the podium in the event.
“It’s my time to depart from athletics; to do something new,” Eaton said on the married couple’s website. “Frankly there isn’t much more I want to do in sport. I gave the most physically robust years of my life to the discovery and pursuit of my limits in this domain. Did I reach them? Truthfully I’m not sure anyone really does. It seems like we tend to run out of time or will before we run out of potential. That makes humanity limitless then, as far as I’m concerned. And I think that’s inspiring.”
Eaton, 28, is one of three men to win multiple Olympic decathlons, joining Bob Mathias and Daley Thompson. Eaton twice broke the decathlon world record, at the 2012 Olympic Trials and the 2015 World Championships.
Eaton did not lose a decathlon he finished in the final five years of his career.
The Canadian Theisen-Eaton, also 28, earned world championships heptathlon silver medals in 2013 and 2015 before taking bronze in Rio. She said she was mentally exhausted after the Rio Games.
“I have never been so thankful to be finished [with] something in my life,” Theisen-Eaton said of Rio on their website. “I felt like I never wanted to do another heptathlon again.
“I no longer have the passion for track and field or the heptathlon that I used to because I know I can’t advance any further in the sport. I’ve given it all I can, and I refuse to come back and half-ass it because I love and respect this event and sport too much. With that, I’ve decided to retire.”
Eaton said shortly after his Rio competition that he would not compete in the 2020 Olympics and that he may retire in 2017.
Then in September, Eaton said he wanted to compete in at least one more decathlon if he continued on — to take part in the famous meet in Götzis, Austria, for the first time.
“I know I would want to do Götzis,” Eaton said then. “It’s more of a sense of missing out on something very cool.”
When Eaton spoke with 1976 Olympic decathlon champion Caitlyn Jenner on the phone in the summer, Eaton had one main question: Was it tough to leave the sport?
Jenner never competed in another decathlon after the Montreal Games. Jenner woke the day after the 1976 decathlon, looked into a hotel mirror, naked except for the gold medal, and said, “What the hell am I going to do now?” according to Sports Illustrated.
Eaton said he liked Jenner’s response.
“I just looked back, and I said thanks for the great time and all the memories, and then moved on,” Jenner told him.
The Eatons met as teenagers as students at the University of Oregon and were married in July 2013 at a ceremony that included a cake that looked like an Xbox, in honor of Eaton’s love of video games.Follow @nzaccardi