Olympic Duck Love Story comes to Jerome Classic July 1

Brianne Theisen   photo by NCAA

Brianne Theisen photo by NCAA


Brianne Theisen  and Ashton Eaton have entered the Jerome Classic next Monday.

Brianne, the winner of the heptathlon at Gotzis this spring will run the 100m hurdles

while Ashton, the Olympic champion and world record holder in the decathlon,

will throw the shot put in preparation for the world championships

multi events in Moscow this August.

Over 40 Olympians from more than 12 countries will battle during the

30th anniversary of the Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome Track Classic for

qualification to the IAAF World Championship set for Moscow, Russia

from August 10th to 18th.

Tickets for the NTL event on July 1 are $10 for general admission and $25 for finish line.

Available online at www.harryjerome.com



Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen:
An Olympic Duck Love Story

By UO Student Chelsea Fullmer

Duck love stories are abundant: many students find love while attending the University of Oregon. It is the site of “boy meets girl” stories, first dates, first kisses, and numerous other firsts that every couple shares. Rarely though, do Duck love stories incorporate first World Track and Field Championships and first Olympic Games moments.

Olympians and UO graduates, Ashton Eaton ’10 and Brianne Theisen ’11 share a Duck love story that includes a trip to the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Eaton, a gold medalist and world record holder in the decathlon, recalls meeting Theisen, a heptathlon athlete from Canada, his freshman year at the UO, when the track and field team hosted potential recruits visiting campus.

Theisen, a year younger than Eaton, was visiting Eugene when she and Eaton struck up a conversation at a party. Although not thinking anything of it at the time, Eaton remembers their fifteen-minute chat as the “coolest conversation I’d ever had with a girl.”

After that, the track stars parted ways, as Eaton completed his freshman year and Theisen finished her senior year at Humboldt Collegiate Institute in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Fast forward to 2007, when Eaton travelled to Brazil for his first ever Pan American Junior Athletics Championship, competing for the United States team. Little did he know that the U.S. team and the Canadian team were staying in the same hotel. He was exiting his hotel room to head down to dinner when the door across the way opened at the same time.

“It was Brianne,” Eaton said. The two quickly caught up. Theisen informed Eaton of her commitment to Oregon. From there Eaton watched as Theisen won the gold for Canada in the heptathlon.

While in Brazil, the U.S. team was granted a dance party in the lobby of their hotel one night. Unlike the Canadians, who are “notoriously crazy,” according to Eaton, the U.S. team had stricter rules and restrictions from coaches. That seemed to change once the Canadians started filtering into the U.S. lobby party.

After getting a little rowdy, coaches started rounding up the athletes. Eaton and Theisen, who had spent the night talking and dancing, ran and hid as others were getting in trouble with coaches. In their hiding place, they shared their first kiss.

Back in Eugene, Eaton and Theisen started spending more and more time together with school and training. With Theisen living in the Barnhart residence halls, Eaton dined there often after practice—“using her meal points, of course.” Eaton lived in Stadium Park by Autzen Stadium, and Theisen, who had a car, would often drive Eaton home.

“I never invited her inside,” Eaton remembers. “We would sit in the car and talk for like two hours, but I never invited her inside.” Prior to dating Theisen, Eaton had only dated one other girl in high school for about two weeks.

After months of hanging out, Eaton finally found the courage to ask Theisen on their first official date: Valentine’s Day in 2008. They went to the Olive Garden in Eugene. Eaton prepared a mix CD and and brought roses.

“I was nervous, because we had started school in September and it took me five months,” Eaton said about finally asking Theisen on a date.

From that day on, Eaton and Theisen were dating. The next year the couple lived two blocks away from each other on Hilyard Street, trained and ate at favorite spots such as Sweet Basil and La Perla. They competed in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship, where Eaton won the men’s decathlon, and in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship, where Theisen placed third.

The following year, the couple moved even closer to each other when Eaton and three friends moved into the other side of the duplex where Theisen and her three friends lived. Their bedrooms even ended up sharing the same wall. In addition to playing volleyball with friends and taking walks in Hendricks Park, training and competing was a time consumption and passion the two shared.

In 2009, the couple both competed in their first World Championship in Athletics in Berlin. Eaton placed 18th in the men’s decathlon and Theisen placed 15th in the women’s heptathlon. As they improved each year and claimed various NCAA and Pac-10 titles, the couple both had one endgame in mind: the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.

After success in both the U.S. and Canadian Olympic Trials, where Eaton broke the world record for the decathlon at home on Hayward Field, the two joined eight other Ducks headed for London.

“It was cool how we met through track in Brazil, basically, and then did all these things…all these dreams and goals of going to the Olympics together, and then actually doing it was very cool,” Eaton said.

At the London Olympic Games, the two spent time together visiting their respective nation’s living villas, sightseeing, cheering each other on, and enjoying each other’s tremendous success. Eaton won the gold medal in the decathlon for the United States, and Theisen finished eleventh in the women’s heptathlon for Canada.

Eaton says that Theisen continually surprises him not only with a dedication and determination regarding track goals and accomplishments but in other realms of life as well.

“She surprises me in other ways. She has great cooking skills, a really good determination to look up a recipe and follow it,” Eaton said.

Eaton ultimately proposed to Theisen after being granted permission by Theisen’s parents. He had the ring sitting in his car while he waited for his opportune moment—one that eventually came on nothing more than a normal night the two spent together.

“She started crying quite a bit. She didn’t say yes for a really long time,” Eaton said.

Since then, the couple has been busy with training, travelling, and planning a wedding that is set for July 15th, 2013. Although looking forward to a future together, Eaton says that if he could, he would rewind time and relive his college years at the UO with Theisen all over again.