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.”