For all that she accomplished in 2015, Oregon Track Club Elite’s Brianne Theisen-Eaton still wasn’t satisfied.
The University of Oregon alum finished the year as the world leader in the heptathlon with a personal best and Canadian record of 6,808 points at the prestigious Hypo Meeting in Gotzis, Austria at the end of May.
However, for the third straight year, she just missed a gold medal on the world stage, claiming silver in the heptathlon at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing.
“(Coming into the meet), I could not ignore that I was the world leader,” Theisen-Eaton said. “I was physically ready to go, but the mental part was how to handle that pressure … I ran my rst event, and it wasn’t good enough; and that’s how I went through the whole thing. Nothing was good enough for me … But I learned so much from it. Now I know what not to do and I don’t think I will ever do that again.”
Theisen-Eaton also won silver at the previous two global meetings; taking runner-up honors in the heptathlon at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, and placing second in the pentathlon at the 2014 World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland.
It’s a pattern she hopes to break at the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland, just 100 miles north of her home in Eugene.
Theisen-Eaton is one of 12 multi-event athletes invited by the IAAF to compete in the women’s pentathlon, which includes five events in a single day: 60-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and 800 meters. The four-day meet will be held at the Oregon Convention Center.
“I’m excited for it,” said Theisen-Eaton, “I do feel like Portland is my home track. I’m also excited because my family gets to come. Nobody in my family has ever seen a professional indoor meet and they’re all excited to see that. I think it will be really fun. It will be nice to have my own car, my own food, and to know the area and be able to do what I want. That’s a huge advantage.”
Theisen-Eaton, of course, is the wife of 2012 Olympic decathlon gold medalist Ashton Eaton, the reigning two-time World Champion and world indoor record-holder in the men’s heptathlon. Team Eaton will be competing side-by-side in Portland for at least one day. They are both coached by multi-event guru Harry Marra.
For Theisen-Eaton, like many world-class athletes, the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships will serve as a springboard for the Olympic year.
“(Ash and I) have our year planned for two tapers,” she said. “A mini-taper indoors and the big one for the Olympics … we’re putting a lot of importance on (World Indoors) and not just because it’s here in Oregon. It will be a really good evaluator of where we are in our training. It’s the only 1,000 Ash will run, and the only 800 I will run indoors, so we’ll judge where we’re at and at the same time, where our competitors are at.”