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

Sky Brown, 11-year-old Olympic skateboard hopeful, suffers serious injuries in fall

Sky Brown Skateboard Fall
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Sky Brown, an 11-year-old British Olympic skateboarding hopeful, recently suffered her worst fall, requiring surgery, she said in a video posted from a hospital bed.

Brown suffered skull fractures and broke her left wrist and hand and was at first unresponsive upon arrival to a hospital, according to the BBC, which quoted her father.

Video of the fall from a skateboarding ramp was posted on her social media. She appeared to be wearing a helmet in the video.

“I don’t usually post my falls or talk about them because I want people to see the fun in what I do,” Brown said. “But this was my worst fall, and I just want everyone to know that, it’s OK, don’t worry. I’m OK. It’s OK to fall sometimes. I’m just going to get back up and push even harder. I know there’s a lot of things going on in the world right now. I want everyone to know that whatever we do, we’ve just go to do it with love and happiness.”

Brown is the 2019 World bronze medalist in the new Olympic sport’s park discipline.

Later Tuesday, Brown reposted an Instagram post from what appeared to be her father’s account. The caption of that post said Brown fell 15 feet to flat concrete.

“I held her in my arms and she bled helplessly moaning in and out of consciousness waiting for the helicopter to take her to the Hospital,” the caption read. “We spent the night sick and terrified not knowing if Sky was going to make it through the night, as the ICU team tried to get her conscious and kept her alive.

“4 days later Sky sits across from me with her full memory back, smiling, watching TikTok while Eating her favorite bad snacks.”

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Last week the worst thing I could ever ever imagined happened to @skybrown . She fell about 15ft off the side of a vert ramp to flat concrete. I held her in my arms and she bled helplessly moaning in and out of consciousness waiting for the helicopter to take her to the Hospital. We spent the night sick and terrified not knowing if Sky was going to make it through the night, as the ICU team tried to get her conscious and kept her alive. We prayed and begged God to give Sky another chance. Word came back while she was still unconscious, multiple fractures to her skull, a broken left arm, which she broke into pieces because she used it to break her fall, broken right fingers and lacerations to her heart and lungs. 4 days later Sky sits across from me with her full memory back, smiling, watching TikTok while Eating her favorite bad snacks. More importantly her Doctors and the trauma team say it’s a miracle how well she is dealing with the pain and recovering incredibly fast. They said it’s shocking and believe it’s because of her grit, positivity and attitude. Skys brother @oceanbrown has been so brave. He saw his sister fall to the ground lying in a pool of blood and was screaming in tears that night outside of the hospital. He has still not allowed into the hospital to see her. They miss each-other dearly, but no siblings are allowed to enter the hospital because of coronavirus. They’ve been spending hours a day on FaceTime with each other making funny faces to one another in fits of giggles and laughter. Sky promises Ocean daily that she will make a fast recovery so they can be together again. Sky is constantly joking and smiling and it’s hurts my heart to even imagine for a second a world without Sky; extremely thankful that I don’t have to. Thank you to the heroes that are the doctors, nurses and hospital staff that have tirelessly worked on her and helped her get to this point.

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Ted Ligety confirms he’ll ‘finish it off’ at 2022 Olympics

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Ted Ligety, a two-time U.S. Olympic Alpine skiing champion, plans to race through the 2022 Beijing Winter Games, looking to break Bode Miller‘s record as the oldest U.S. Olympic Alpine skier in history.

Ligety detailed the plans for the rest of his career in interviews with NBC Sports and SkiRacing.com this spring.

“Two final years and finish it off at the Olympics,” Ligety told Mike Tirico on Lunch Talk Live.

Previously, the 35-year-old had not announced whether he would make a push for a fifth Winter Games. But since he’s planning to race the 2020-21 season, it makes sense to extend it to the Olympic year.

“At this point, I guess I’m shooting for the Olympics,” Ligety said in a SkiRacing.com podcast published last week. “If I was going to go this year, I was going to go the next year. It kind of seems silly to stop the year before the Olympics. So, go through then and then definitely be done. So, 37, I’d definitely be an old guy at the Olympics. Actually, my body’s been feeling better this year than it has in probably the five years prior to this.”

Ligety, a gold medalist in the 2006 Olympic combined and 2014 Olympic giant slalom, would break Miller’s age record. Miller tied for super-G bronze in his fifth and final Olympics in 2014 at age 36. Come 2022, Ligety will be older than any U.S. Olympic male skier in any discipline since ski jumper Peder Falstad at the 1932 Lake Placid Olympics, according to Olympedia.org.

Before last season, Ligety said he would not race much longer if his best result for the year was eighth place, as it was in 2018-19. In 2019-20, he posted fifth- and seventh-place finishes while limiting his schedule to almost exclusively giant slaloms.

“I feel like I’m starting to progress again to the point where I feel like I can start winning races,” he said.

Ligety is trying to return to the top of the sport after a string of significant injuries: a hip labrum tear in 2015, a season-ending ACL tear in 2016 and season-ending surgery for three herniated disks in his back in 2017.

“If my body falls apart and all that, then I guess I’ll revisit things,” he said. “But trying hard to persevere and try to preserve the body in a way that I’m able to push hard through races and not be battling through pain.”

Also on his mind: a 2-year-old son, Jax, and twins on the way.

“Family life is about to get exponentially more hectic,” he said.

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