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Ashton Eaton wants to be the first person on Mars

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Olympic decathlon champ Ashton Eaton‘s recent life changes included a retirement and an edit to his Twitter bio, which now partially reads, “I’m deciding what to do next. Being the 1st person on Mars would be cool.”

“That is a pretty serious idea and goal of mine,” Eaton said, according to ESPN.com, after he and wife Brianne Theisen-Eaton announced the end of their track and field careers Wednesday. “But I have to think about my family, my future, the family I might have one day with kids. And Brianne is not too thrilled about it. Because especially if you are on the first space ship, there is a good chance you won’t make it. Do I really want to put my family through that?”

Eaton’s Twitter bio also lists interests of education, transportation, infrastructure, architecture and energy.

“I would prefer he does those,” rather than Mars, Theisen-Eaton said Thursday. “I’m not a fan of going to Mars. He’s actually said, Bri, how cool would it be if we both went to Mars and had the first Martian? I was like, no, we’re not doing that. I’m the one who’s going to have a kid on Mars, and I’m not cool with that. So, not happening. I’m hoping that’s more of a joke than anything.”

Eaton’s fascination with the red planet is nothing new. In February, while in a New York hotel room, he found an online contest put on by a British group to design a map symbol for Mars.

“I sent in a hand sketch that, looking back on it, it was obviously really bad,” Eaton said Thursday. “Basically it was a space boot with an emblem.”

Eaton later blogged about his exploration desires for the British group. The winner’s design was a landing-craft symbol.

The Eatons are 28 years old. Time is running out if they want to go to Mars.

“I think it’s kind of like track,” Eaton said. “You’re close to making the Olympic team, but all of a sudden you get an injury. That can be something like a rocket going up and just completely blowing up. That’ll delay stuff a really long time. We’re going to put humans in this thing? The chance increases that people die. … All things going well, I think we’re always close.”

MORE: Eatons’ coach says they’re retiring at the right time

Swimming short-course records in peril as FINA recognizes ISL times

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In the debut season of the International Swimming League, six U.S. short-course records have fallen. USA Swimming has recognized the new circuit’s times from the outset.

International body FINA, which at first threatened to ban swimmers who participated in the ISL and then said it would not recognize records from the team-based league, which debuted in October and will hold its first final meet Dec. 20-21 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, is now recognizing those times, and the effects on its statistics have been drastic.

MORE: Ledecky sets U.S. record in ISL debut

This morning, a downloaded list of the top times in the world this year included no ISL times. By the afternoon, times from the ISL’s meet over the weekend in College Park, Md., accounted for most of the times on the lists, including the top 10 in the women’s 50m freestyle and women’s 100m freestyle.

So far, the ISL hasn’t figured into the top five on many all-time FINA lists. But the best short-course times are typically posted near the end of the year, and the ISL has two meets remaining.

The U.S. record book has already changed. In October, Katie Ledecky set the 400m freestyle record (3:54.06) and Melanie Margalis set the 200m medley mark (2:04.18).

In College Park this weekend, Margalis also set the U.S. 400m medley record (4:24.46) and Ian Finnerty set two records the 50m breaststroke (25.99), with runner-up Michael Andrew also beating the previous record, and the 100m breaststroke (56.29). Also, Caeleb Dressel set the 50m butterfly record (22.21).

Only half of the swimmers in the ISL will advance to the final, and qualification isn’t necessarily in their hands. After the College Park meet, the Cali Condors and LA Current clinched spots in Las Vegas. That’s bad news for Andrew (New York Breakers), Finnerty (DC Trident) and Ledecky (DC Trident).

Dressel, Margalis and Lilly King — all representing the Condors — will have another shot at records in Vegas. 

FINA, as usual, is running its World Cup circuit during the fall and early winter, and some swimmers — including overall World Cup champions Vladimir Morozov and Cate Campbell — are pulling double duty between the World Cup and ISL.

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IOC announces deal with Airbnb to add housing for future Olympics

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The International Olympic Committee has moved to help with the scramble to house the influx of athletes, staff and spectators with each Olympics, making a deal with online housing broker Airbnb to add accommodations for the Games through 2028.

“The agreement includes accommodation provisions that will reduce costs for Olympic Games organizers and stakeholders, minimize the need for construction of new accommodation infrastructure for the Olympic Games period, and generate direct revenue for local hosts and communities,” the IOC announced.

Airbnb’s partnership also includes accommodation for disability athletes for the Paralympic Games, and the company will join large global companies such as Coca-Cola, Visa and Panasonic as worldwide Olympic partners.

Athletes also will have a chance to make money by hosting travelers.

“As an Olympian host, you can create and lead an experience inspired by your expertise and interests,” reads an explanation on the Olympic athlete support portal Athlete365.

Outside the Olympics and Olympic athlete experiences, the IOC and Airbnb are pledging to work together on long-term support to refugees.

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