The decathlon is one of the most grueling tests in all of sports. As far as individual track and field events, though, the 400m hurdles is one of the most painful events.
The world’s greatest athlete wants to give it a try.
Olympic and world decathlon champion Ashton Eaton, who is also the world-record holder, will focus on the 400m hurdles next spring, according to RunnerSpace.com.
“(Ashton) brought it up to be before I brought it up to him,” Eaton’s coach, Harry Marra, told the website. “He likes to run the quarter. He’s a good hurdler. It makes sense from the standpoint of training as a 400 hurdler in order to make him better at the 400 meters and the 1,500 meters.
“I don’t make predictions, but I think he could be very elite.”
There are no outdoor World Championships in 2014, and Eaton is already qualified for the 2015 World Championships decathlon.
So Eaton can afford to experiment and have a little fun next year before returning to 10-event training.
The 400m hurdles is not part of the decathlon. His personal bests in the 110m hurdles (13.35 seconds) and the 400m (45.64) would have made the final and semifinals, respectively, at this year’s World Championships.
Multi-event champions have been world class in individual events in the past, though it’s usually in decathlon disciplines.
2012 Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis’ personal best in the 100m hurdles is 12.54 seconds, the same time Dawn Harper ran to win the 2008 Olympics.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee, the 1988 and 1992 Olympic heptathlon champion, also won three Olympic medals in the long jump.