Olympians Brianne Theisen-Eaton, Ashton Eaton announce retirements
Track and field couple, both 28, releases joint statement
Canadian heptathlon star Brianne Theisen-Eaton and her husband, Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton, have retired from track and field.
The couple, both 28, made the announcement in side-by-side statements posted on their website Wednesday.
My passions & interests have changed. Track has given me so much, but it's time to retire. Thank you for the journey <a href="https://t.co/QRMHLBiKc8">https://t.co/QRMHLBiKc8</a>—@btheiseneaton
I give everything to the decathlon. I did all I could. Thank u for making it the best time of my life. I'm retiring. <a href="https://t.co/x6kPMp9Jxz">https://t.co/x6kPMp9Jxz</a>—@AshtonJEaton
Ashton Eaton, an American, won gold at the last two Olympics and the last two world championships. He's also the decathlon world record holder.
"It's my time to depart from athletics, to do something new," Eaton said in his half of the statement. "Frankly there isn't much more I want to do in sport."
Theisen-Eaton, from Humboldt, Sask., was a bronze medallist at the Rio Games and a silver medallist at both the 2013 and 2015 world championships.
She said she felt "mentally exhausted" after Rio.
"I have never been so thankful to be finished something in my life," Theisen-Eaton said. "I felt like I never wanted to do another heptathlon again."
After considering her future for a few months, she said, Theisen-Eaton made the decision to retire.
"I no longer have the passion for track and field or the heptathlon that I used to, because I know I can't advance any further in the sport," she said.
"I've given it all I can, and I refuse to come back and half-ass it because I love and respect this event and sport too much."
The couple met while competing for the University of Oregon and married in July of 2013. They figured prominently in the Rio Olympics, starring in a credit-card commercial together and cheering each other on during their events.
Ashton Eaton was criticized by some in the U.S. for wearing a red Canada cap in support of his wife.
Warner applauds Eatons' accomplishments
Canadian decalthlete Damain Warner, an Olympic teammate of Theisen-Eaton's and a longtime rival of Eaton's, lauded the couple's contributions to the sport of track and field.
"They've been such great people and such great influences and when people like that retire, you hate to see them go," Warner told CBC Sports.
Warner credits Theisen-Eaton's fight for a medal with helping him win a bronze of his own in Rio.
"There were times where she was kind of counted out of the competition and people were thinking she wasn't going to get on the podium, but she came back and she finished with the bronze medal," Warner said.
"There were times where I counted myself out and it was Brianne who showed me that it was possible for me to come back. She was just a big influence and a big help in that situation."
As for her husband, Warner was similarly complimentary.
"If I was going to lose, he'd be the person that I'd want to lose to because he is such a great guy and a great competitor and he always brought out the best in me," Warner said.
With files from The Canadian Press