Ashton Eaton three-peats at World Indoors, but wife ‘stole the show’

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — His gold medal was nice. His wife’s meant even more.

Ashton Eaton told the hometown crowd that and drew quite a few “Ahhs.” Then again, he did win in what amounted to a landslide.

Lately, though, when doesn’t he?

Eaton earned his third straight heptathlon title at the World Indoor Track and Field Cchampionships Saturday night, taking all the suspense out of the competition with another dominating performance.

The only real drama left was whether he could break his indoor world mark, but an exhausted Eaton didn’t have a burst in the 1000m, the final event of seven. He finished with 6,470 points, 175 behind the indoor mark he set four years ago in Istanbul.

This has been quite a World Indoor Championships for Team Eaton. His wife, Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Canada, won the pentathlon title the day before with an incredible performance in the last event. He greeted her with a hug after her race. She greeted him this time, the crowd applauding for the first couple of multi-events.

“You know what, it didn’t matter what happened to me today,” Ashton Eaton said, adding that his wife’s performance “made the whole meet for me.”

“You guys know, she stole the show,” he said.

Eaton now has six straight major titles, including gold at the 2012 London Olympics. He will be the overwhelming favorite to defend his crown at the Rio Games.

The World Championships conclude Sunday, on NBC Sports Live Extra at 3:30-6 p.m. ET and NBCSN from 4-6.

In other events Saturday, American Barbara Pierre used a blazing start to beat a favored Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands in the women’s 60m final. It was part of a banner day for the United States, which has eight gold medals and 15 total heading into the final day of the competition Sunday.

Some of the biggest names in track — Usain Bolt, Justin Gatlin and Allyson Felix — skipped the championships. The Russians aren’t here, either, because of pending doping and corruption charges.

In the 800m, Boris Berian of Colorado Springs, Colo., went from fast food to the fast lane. Two years ago, he was working at McDonald’s to fund his training. He ordered up a win by taking the lead during the opening lap and then held off a talented field.

“Got excited but stayed positive and trusted my training and hung on,” said Berian, who quit his job at McDonald’s in November 2014.

Think this sort of day would ever arrive when working at the hamburger chain?

“Not like this. Not this fast,” Berian said.

The most interesting look of the evening belonged to Italian high jumper Gianmarco Tamberi, who was clean shaven on the right side of his face and had stubble on the right.

By a razor-thin margin, he won the event over Robbie Grabarz of Britain.

Tamberi’s half-beard look at major meets has become his trademark. He’s the consummate entertainer, too, shaking hands with the fans and later executing a perfect backflip into the mat after his win.

In other finals Saturday:

Dong Bin of China took gold in the men’s triple jump.

– Czech Republic’s Pavel Maslak earned the men’s 400m title.

Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela won the women’s triple jump.

– American Michelle Carter cruised to the women’s shot put crown.

Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands beat two Ethiopians to earn gold in the women’s 1500m.

Oluwakemi Adekoya of Bahrain held off Americans Ashley Spencer and Quanera Hayes to win the women’s 400m.

“I am proud of myself. Really, really proud,” Adekoya said. “I am the only person to represent my country without a coach here. I am really proud of myself.”

MORE: What Caitlyn Jenner told Ashton Eaton after decathlon world record

12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
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At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich
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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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