Road To The Olympic Games

Track and Field

Brianne Theisen-Eaton is not missing the athlete life

Brianne Theisen-Eaton just sat out the first major competition since she decided to walk away from her sport, and it hasn't made her think twice about the move.

Retired Canadian heptathlon star enjoying exploring other interests

Brianne Theisen-Eaton's retirement caught the track world off guard, but she's excited to be moving on to a new stage in her life. (AFP/Getty Images)

Brianne Theisen-Eaton just sat out the first major competition since she decided to walk away from her sport, and it hasn't made her think twice about the move.

"I kind of equate it to everyone has a great time in college or university," says the 28-year-old Canadian, who revealed her retirement from heptathlon in January via a dual announcement with her husband, two-time Olympic and world decathlon champion Ashton Eaton. "You're always like, 'Oh, I wish I could go back to those times' but you don't want to actually do the school part anymore. You want to just go back for the fun stuff."

The 2016 Olympic bronze medallist and two-time world championship silver medallist admits to missing some of the excitement of travel and seeing her friends who are still competing. But she took one look at the exceptional results from last weekend's prestigious Hypo Meeting in Gotzis, Austria, and was reminded that intense training and competition is no longer what she wants to do every day.

"I think that was one of the main reasons for retirement. I just don't enjoy being stressed out every day," says the Humboldt, Sask., native. "Learning to channel your stresses and energies can be really hard and it's something I don't miss."

Theisen-Eaton says she and her husband had been considering retiring for months before their public announcement, and that they "wouldn't make that decision or announce that if we weren't 100 per cent sure."

Before deciding, she consulted many people about some of the pitfalls of post-retirement life for athletes, including speaking with sports psychologists to make sure that she was prepared.

"I don't feel any urge to go back at all," she says.

Theisen-Eaton and her husband, two-time Olympic and world decathlon champ Ashton Eaton, are "both just super happy" with their decision to walk away from their sports. (Frank Gunn/ The Canadian Press)

The next step

When she was still competing, Theisen-Eaton was diligent about her diet, to say the least. Whenever she and Eaton travelled to events, she made sure to pack an extra suitcase filled with nothing but carefully chosen health food so that they could maintain their impeccable eating regimen on the road.

Even on flights, it was no different.

"I would make little Ziploc bags of oatmeal and we would dump them in cups on the plane and just ask for hot water so we didn't have to eat the plane food," she says.

Proper nutrition became a passion for her, and that's where she got her latest business idea — and possibly a new direction for her life.

Starting on Thursday, Theisen-Eaton will be re-purposing the web site she used to run with her husband to start a nutrition education business that she hopes to use to do a variety of things, from teaching people about nutrition to offering healthy lifestyle tips and even sharing a healthy cheesecake recipe.

Theisen-Eaton and her husband will be moving to California in the fall, and they couldn't be happier with their newfound freedom away from the grind of training and competition.

"I think it was the perfect time to retire, and we're both just super happy," she says. "Although it's a little bit stressful sometimes figuring out where you're going in life, by delaying it and doing track for another year or two years wasn't going to prevent this from happening. So this was a great time."

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