ashton eaton

"World's Greatest" doing a sack dance?

If it weren't a decathlete, Ashton Eaton looks at football players as next in line
Dec. 31, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

The title of "World's Greatest Athlete" goes with the territory that decathletes compete within, and that's where Oregon's own Ashton Eaton lives.

After winning the gold medal in the decathlon at the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games, Eaton earned the title, especially after setting the world record in the 10-event competition at the U.S. Olympic Trials earlier in the summer.

But, if it weren't a decathlete, what kind of athlete would be next in line for that title? Oregonsports Journal asked Eaton that question for the Oregon Sports Year in Review issue and he came up with a very unique answer: a defensive end, perhaps just ahead of a running back.

"I've always thought they are the most athletic people on the football field," Eaton wrote in response to the quesstion. "Some of them are as fast, jump higher than, and are stronger than running backs. 

"It's kind of scary if you look at some of their statistics."

At 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, Eaton is a perfect size for a decathlete - only an inch shorter and the same competitive weight as Dan O'Brien, who held the world record previously. That makes him more suited to be a running back on a football field, but without the specialty skills needed for events such as the pole vault and high jump, Eaton focused on the combination of power, endurance and overall athleticism. When put together, Eaton, who played football in high school, looked at football players as having the best combination of the three ahead of athletes in such events as the triathlon.

The demands of a defensive end, especially the need for explosive power, made that position stand out, "because those types of athletes would have better chances of being good at basketball, baseball, maybe tennis, weight lifting, track (short stuff and field stuff), compared to an endurance athlete (triathlete) who would most likely excel at endurance activities like biking, distance running, soccer, and swimming."

In the prime of his career, Jason Taylor, who played defensive end in the NFL for 15 seasons for the Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins and New York Jets, would have been a perfect example of Eaton's combination of talents. Taylor retired with the sixth-most sacks in NFL history and returned six fumbles for touchdowns, which set an NFL record.

Taylor, who is 6-foot-6 and played at around 240 pounds, also finished as runner-up on "Dancing With the Star" during the sixth season of the popular series that airs on ABC.

So, does Eaton see himself giving the NFL a try? It's something he ponders.

"Sometimes I wonder how good I would be at baseball or football or soccer," Eaton wrote, "maybe even golf."

For more on Eaton and his recollections on 2012 subscribe to Oregonsports Journal.

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Kelly, Eaton, Brenner take top awards

The Oregon Sports Awards recognizes pro, college, prep standouts from 2012
Feb. 10, 2013

The University of Oregon dominated the top awards, both with current and future athletes, at the Oregon Sports Awards Sunday at the Nike Campus in Beaverton.

Kenjon Barner of the Oregon football program and Elizabeth Brenner of the Ducks's volleyball, basketball, softball and track and field programs, were honored with the top awards, the Bill Hayward Amatuer Athlete of the Year.

Football coach Chip Kelly, decathlete Ashon Eaton, the University of Oregon women's indoor track, women's cross country, acrobatics and tumbling team as well as incoming freshmen Thomas Tyner of Aloha High and Haley Crouser of Gresham were also honored. Tyner and Crouser were honored with the Johnny Carpenter Prep Athlete of the Year Award.

Eaton, an Oregon alum, won the decathlon at the London Olympics and was the  men's Harry Glickman Professional Athlete of the Year, while University of Portland alum Megan Rapinoe was the women's winner for her role on the U.S. Women's Soccer team winning the Olympic gold.

2012 AWARDS

Bill Hayward Amateur Athlete of the Year
MALE: Kenjon Barner, University of Oregon football
FEMALE: Elizabeth Brenner, University of Oregon volleyball, basketball, softball, track and field
Harry Glickman Professional Athlete of the Year
MALE: Ashton Eaton,Oregon Track Club Elite and Team USA track and field
FEMALE: Megan Rapinoe, Team USA soccer
Slats Gill Sportsperson of the Year
Chip Kelly, University of Oregon football coach, and Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat basketball coach
Ad Rutschman Small College Athlete of the Year (male)
MALE: Mitch Lofstedt, Southern Oregon University wrestling
FEMALE: Staci Doucette, Linfield College softball
George Pasero Teams of the Year
Winners: Blue Mountain Community College volleyball; Oregon Institute of Technology men's basketball; University of Oregon acrobatics and tumbling; University of Oregon women's cross country; University of Oregon women's indoor track
DNA Award
(To an individual or organization for extraordinary passion and dedication to sports in Oregon)
Danny Miles, Oregon Institute of Technology men's basketball coach
Game Changer Award
(to individuals who have dedicated their lives to high school sports and made compelling changes in their schools and communities)
Bobbie Steninger, Lakeview High
Lou Burge Special Olympics Athlete of the Year
Dony Knight, Sutherlin High
Johnny Carpenter Prep Athlete of the Year
Class 6A/5A male

MALE: Thomas Tyner, Aloha High football
FEMALE: Haley Crouser, Gresham High track and field, volleyball
Class 4A/3A/2A/1A
MALE: Oshay Dunmore, Newport High, multiple sports
FEMALE: Baily Bennett, Heppner High, multiple sports

PREP SPORT AWARDS

Football Player of the Year
Thomas Tyner, Aloha High
Volleyball Player of the Year
Tani Stephens, West Albany High
Boys Soccer Player of the Year
Christo Michaelson, Jesuit High
Girls Soccer Player of the Year
Ariel Viera, Scappoose High
Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year
Travis Neuman, Summit High
Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year
Sara Tsai, South Eugene High
Boys Basketball Player of the Year
Calvin Hermanson, Lake Oswego High
Girls Basketball Player of the Year
Mercedes Russell, Springfield High
Wrestler of the Year
Zac Brunson, Churchill High
Boys Swimmer of the Year
Cameron Stitt, Sunset High
Girls Swimmer of the Year
Sarah Kaunitz, Lake Oswego High
Baseball Player of the Year
Carson Kelly, Westview High
Softball Player of the Year
Maryssa Becker, North Medford High
Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year
Oshay Dunmore, Newport High
Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year
Haley Crouser, Gresham High
Boys Golfer of the Year
Sulman Raza, South Eugene High
Girls Golfer of the Year
Gigi Stoll, Beaverton High
Boys Tennis Player of the Year
Goutham Sundaram, Lincoln High
Girls Tennis Player of the Year
Erin Larner, Jesuit High

Recollections on 2012

Oregonsports Journal looks at the state's top athletes, teams and stories
Dec. 27, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

What a year, 2012.

The Oregon football team nearly played into the BCS Championship again, while Oregon State got a whiff of that excitement, too.

An Oregonian won the Olympic decathlon.

Oregonians played in the greatest women's soccer match of all-time.

The Timbers struggled with scoring, player movement, coaching changes, but didn't diminish their fan support, and even moved forward by moving into the new women's soccer league.

The Winterhawks missed playing into the Memorial Cup by one game.

Oregon won the women's national cross country title and missed the volleyball title by one match.

Jesuit won its record fourth-straight boys basketball title.

Oregonsports Journal takes a look back on 2012, the team highlights, athlete highlights and drama that accounted for the past 12 months, available to subscribers.

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