Brianne Theisen-Eaton: from bridesmaid to the wearer of the white dress, by Alex Mills (from RBR Archives 2014)


Updated January 6, 2017

Alex Mills wrote this piece on Brianne Theisen-Eaton, after her win at the Commonwealth Games in the Summer of 2014. I was fortunate to witness Brianne's victory. It was also at this event that Ashton Eaton, in a short chat, reminded me that " it is all about Rio. it is all about 2016." What prophetic words.

Alex Mills told me last night that he wanted to write on the heptathlon, and he stayed true to his word! A nice piece on the fine heptathlon that ended with two medals for Canada and one for England!

The pictures used were for a feature we did last year, courtesy of the IAAF series, A Day in the Life of Brianne Theisen-Eaton and Ashton Eaton, May 2013, photos by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images, for the IAAF.
Brianne Theisen-Eaton and Ashton Eaton, Day in the Life, May 12, 2013,
photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images/IAAF

Being married to a decathlete must be tough; you have to suffer through 10 rounds of mood swings that range from elation to despair, often in no particular order, sometimes all at once; as the stress caused by making sure they get everything right; not once but tenfold, becomes heavier than wearing a rucksack full of lead.


Brianne Theisen-Eaton, A Day in the Life, May 12, 2013,

photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images/IAAF

One dodgy shot put and what had looked like a very respectable points tally can quickly get eaten up by the multi-event alligators waiting behind in 2nd 3rd or 4th to pounce as soon as you might be hit with a misfortune.

While that must be tough enough to witness as the less sporty partner, what about if you say, are both professional athletes? Or in Brianne Theison-Eaton's case, you are a world class heptathlete, who just happens to be married to the world's greatest ever all round athlete, Ashton Eaton?


Ashton Eaton, Brianne Theisen-Eaton, Coach Harry Marra, A Day in the Life,

May 12, 2013,photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images/IAAF

As one half of an oh so famous power couple it's not just the added weight of 7 more events that needs to be added to the equation but the pressure of trying to match your achievements up with his.

Luckily for Theison-Eaton, things have been getting better and better in the last year with the idea that she and Eaton claiming double gold becoming more and more likely.

After taking world silver both indoor and out, her crowning moment came yesterday at the Commonwealth Games. As Ashton the American cheered from the crowd, no doubt filled with nerves, Brianne the Canadian, proved the she was a class apart from the rest of the athletes from the former empire, to claim gold and make the transition from bridesmaid to the women in the white dress.

In hindsight, it probably would have been one of the shocks of the games had Theison-Eaton not won gold. Such was gulf in class between her and the other athletes in the absence of Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Jessica Ennis-Hill as she won by 327 points.

Nevertheless, you can only beat what's in front of you, with the challenge of staying focused perhaps even harder when you are so much better than your opponents.

By winning 5 of the 7 events and scoring 900+ points on 5 occasions, she showed real style and grit, ensuring that her first gold would come as a result of a demolition act, not a crawl to the finish line.

Arguably her most impressive performance came in the final event. Racing in an 800m she could have jogged in and still won gold, Theison-Eaton who had leading the race at 600m reacted to Jessica Zelinka's late surge to once more outlast her compatriot and win by just 0.08 of a second to ensure the image of her dominance would end just how it had started in round 2, with victory.

Whether she would have won against KJT, is hard to tell, but given her scores without her here, imagine what she could have done with some real competition, particularly in the jumps.

In many ways, not having her biggest rivals in Glasgow helps not just the Canadian but the whole of heptathlon, with the confidence of victory here likely to spur her on even further towards even greater things in the world of multi-events.

As a result at Beijing 2015 we could quite possibly have 5 genuine gold medal contenders and potentially the greatest heptathlon competition in history!


Brianne Theisen-Eaton, Ashton Eaton, A Day in the Life, May 12, 2013, photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images/IAAF

Despite the huge winning margin, credit should still also go to both Jessica Zelinka, now a double Commonwealth silver medallist and owner of the Commonwealth hep 100metre hurdle record and England's Jessica Taylor in 3rd an athlete who has improved her personal best by over 450 points this year.

Taylor's progression is surely a sign of the feel good factor that surrounds British Heptathlon at the moment. While she may still be someway off the major championship qualifying standards and the ability of Ennis-Hill, Johnson-Thompson and Morgan Lake, her huge progression in one year and the sensation of reaching the podium mean that 6000+ score is not too far away. A target that will inevitably be met if further improvement can be made to her final 3 events in the competition; especially the 800m and the Javelin.


Brianne Theisen-Eaton, A Day in the Life, May 12, 2013,
photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images/IAAF

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