Skip to content

Ashton Eaton headlines Oslo Diamond League; preview

Jun 10, 2014, 10:45 AM EDT

Ashton Eaton Getty Images

Ashton Eaton, perhaps the most recognizable U.S. male track and field athlete, was until this year largely absent from the sport’s premier meet series — the Diamond League — across America, Europe and Asia.

That’s because the Diamond League does not include decathlons, the event in which Eaton is the reigning Olympic and World champion and world-record holder.

Eaton has a passion for track and field beyond times, heights and lengths — he’s asked for historic data on Twitter — and has wished his primary trade could be included.

“I believe decathlon should have a hand in the Diamond League circuit,” he told Spikes in April 2013. “I would say we should compete across five competitions, with two events per competition like, 100m and long jump for one meeting and then shot and high jump the next.

“I think this would be a good timeframe and keep people interested in the multis. A similar competition could also be run for the women multi-eventers.”

Well, the decathlon is not yet on the Diamond League program. But Eaton is in Oslo for his second Diamond League meet of this season Wednesday.

That’s because Eaton is taking a break from decathlons this season in favor of the 400m hurdles, which is not one of the 10 decathlon events. It’s a luxury he can afford given it’s the one year in the four-year cycle with no Olympics and no World Outdoor Championships.

“I was good at [400m hurdles] and was always curious so tried it, and I needed a break from the past few years especially ahead of the 2015, 2016 and 2017 seasons,” he said in Oslo on Tuesday. “The 400m is my base training so we just took a step further with the hurdles, and that’s why I chose that event.”

Eaton has said focusing on the 400m hurdles has reinvigorated him, especially mentally, for when he reverts to the decathlon going toward the 2016 Olympics. Eaton, 26, feels he could compete until 2020 or 2024.

In 2016, he could become the first man since Daley Thompson in 1984 to successfully defend an Olympic decathlon title (and first since Bob Mathias in 1952 to do it in non-boycotted Games).

Eaton has run in Diamond League meets before — contesting the 110m hurdles at the Prefontaine Classic — but Oslo marks his circuit debut in the 400m hurdles.

Universal Sports will have TV and online coverage of Oslo beginning at 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Full start lists are here.

Here are four events to watch Wednesday:

Men’s 400m hurdles

Eaton’s personal best 49.07 set Sunday ranks ninth in the world this year. That would have placed sixth at the 2013 U.S. Championships.

It’s also made him the second fastest man this year in the Oslo field, behind 2011 World bronze medalist LJ Van Zyl. It’s a bit of an open race, without any of the reigning Olympic or World medalists. Close competition could give Eaton extra juice to sub sub-49.

Men’s 5000m

Galen Rupp competes for the first time since smashing his American 10,000m record at the Pre Classic on May 30. His primary competition in the Norwegian capital will be Kenyan Caleb Ndiku, who is the fastest 5000m man this year, and Ethiopian Olympic silver medalist Dejen Gebremeskel.

Women’s 200m

Four-time Olympic champion Allyson Felix is still looking for her first victory of 2014. She finished fifth in a 400m in Shanghai and third in a 200m in Eugene, Ore., in her first races since tearing a hamstring at the 2013 World Championships.

That win could very well come in Oslo, where she won’t have to worry about longtime 200m rival Veronica Campbell-Brown or World champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Felix is the fastest woman this year among the field, just better than 2013 World silver medalist Murielle Ahoure.

Men’s 100m

Justin Gatlin, the fastest man in the world this year, is sitting this one out. The sprinter to watch instead is Trinidad and Tobago’s Richard Thompson, the second man to cross the finish line in the 2008 Beijing Olympic 100m final, well behind Usain Bolt.

Thompson reportedly ran a 9.74 in Clermont, Fla., two weeks ago, a time lacking a wind reading and not registered on the IAAF’s top lists page. Gatlin ran a wind-aided 9.76 at the Pre Classic on the same day.

Apolo Ohno completes Ironman 70.3 Boise (photos)

Latest Posts
  1. Almaty or Beijing? IOC set to choose 2022 Winter Olympic host

    Jul 30, 2015, 8:08 AM EDT

    Sochi Olympics Biathlon AP

    Either way, the vote will mark an Olympic first.

  2. Allyson Felix to run 400m at World Championships

    Jul 29, 2015, 6:27 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Felix will be absent from the 200m at Worlds for the first time since 2001.

  3. Simone Biles turns pro

    Jul 29, 2015, 4:49 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Biles won’t be eligible to compete collegiately.

  4. Abby Wambach ‘planning on playing’ in Rio, ‘still need time to decide’

    Jul 29, 2015, 1:53 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    It would be tougher for Wambach to make the Rio Olympic team than the 2015 World Cup team.

  5. Markus Rehm, German amputee long jumper, left off World Championships team

    Jul 29, 2015, 12:19 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Rehm has the best long jump by a German this year, but he may have a competitive advantage.

  6. Inbee Park criticizes Olympic golf qualifying procedures

    Jul 29, 2015, 11:45 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    “If you are in the world’s top 50, you should be able to play in the Olympics.”

  7. IOC president: Boston 2024 didn’t deliver on promises to USOC

    Jul 29, 2015, 11:02 AM EDT

    AP AP

    “I gave up following [Boston 2024] because it was pretty confusing.”

  8. Russia basketball says it’s suspended by FIBA

    Jul 29, 2015, 10:28 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Its Olympic qualifying tournament is in less than two months.

  9. Yuna Kim: About 90 percent of my career was hardship

    Jul 29, 2015, 8:59 AM EDT

    AP AP

    Watch Kim play badminton with Michelle Kwan.

  10. No decision made on Bode Miller’s status, agent says

    Jul 29, 2015, 8:59 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Miller said June 15 he could ski a partial 2015-16 season, and a report last week cited Miller saying he would take at least one year off.

  11. IOC president confident U.S. will still bid for 2024 Olympics

    Jul 28, 2015, 2:05 PM EDT

    AP AP

    One city’s mayor is open to discussions.

  12. Jonathan Horton splashes out on American Ninja Warrior (video)

    Jul 28, 2015, 11:54 AM EDT

    Jonathan Horton

    Horton impressively scaled the warped wall, which is about three times his height.

  13. Jessica Ennis-Hill will compete at World Championships

    Jul 28, 2015, 11:17 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The British Olympic heptathlon champion will compete at a global championship for the first time since the London Games.

  14. South Sudan set for Olympic recognition

    Jul 28, 2015, 9:14 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    A South Sudanese marathon runner competed under a different flag at London 2012.

  15. Haley Anderson makes second Olympic team

    Jul 28, 2015, 7:09 AM EDT

    AP AP

    Her 17-year-old teammate missed out, though, at the World Championships.

  16. Phil Dalhausser, Sean Rosenthal split

    Jul 27, 2015, 11:59 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    An injury to Dalhausser spelled doom to their partnership.

  17. Boston ends bid for 2024 Olympics; USOC wants another city

    Jul 27, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT

    Boston 2024

    The 2024 bid race is down to four cities.

  18. Kerri Walsh Jennings to return at World Series of Beach Volleyball in August

    Jul 27, 2015, 5:18 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The three-time Olympic champion hasn’t played since dislocating a shoulder July 10.