Marshall McLuhan wrote the Gutenburg Galaxy, a life changing book for me in the 1970s. His most favorite quote is, “the Medium is the message.” McLuhan got that the world would go digital and change in good and not so good ways. Keep that moment in mind when you read this column, kind readers.
So, I gave Lori Shontz, associate professor of journalism at the University of Oregon a challenge. I wanted to have her social media aware writers comment on social media moments of each day. Kylee O’Connor had a great one for day 1. Tell us what you think!
McCluhan was Right, For Rio The Medium is the Message
by Kylee O’Connor
The first day of Olympic track and field competition was filled with not one, but two American records and yet, these displays of athletic history were overshadowed by Ashton Eaton’s hat choice.
As Molly Huddle broke the American record in the 10,000 meters and Michelle Carter not only broke the American record, but was also the first to capture a women’s shot put gold medal in United States’ history, Brianne Theisen-Eaton was competing in day one of the heptathlon.
Theisen-Eaton, the former Oregon Duck representing Canada in the heptathlon, was joined in Olympic Stadium by her husband and decathlon world record holder, Ashton Eaton as he encouraged her from the stands. In support of his wife, the American decathlete donned a red “Canada” hat. As Theisen-Eaton went through day one of the heptathlon, Ashton was bombarded on Twitter with criticism regarding why he was wearing a Canadian hat while representing the U.S.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) August 13, 2016
There is no exact number as to how many negative tweets were thrown at Ashton, but it was enough to warrant a response from the normally even-keeled athlete. One angry fan went as far as to say that Ashton was a “traitor.” He responded with questions for those who put his patriotism into question.
— Athletics Canada (@AthleticsCanada) August 13, 2016
Are your grandparents from another country? Will your grandchildren be? What then? Hopefully you’ll adopt a more reasonable view.
— Ashton Eaton (@AshtonJEaton) August 13, 2016
Many, however, supported Ashton in his display to encourage his wife including former Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones.
I’ve never seen Ashton Eaton mad until tonight. Oh Lord. What have u guys done.
That’s his WIFE. He made a vow to support her- for Life
— Lolo Jones (@lolojones) August 13, 2016
— Amanda Brooks (@BrooksAD) August 13, 2016
Theisen-Eaton ended day one with an average score of 3,872 points to place her in sixth, 186 points behind 2012 Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill. U.S. Olympic Trials champion Barbara Nwaba is in 11th place through four events and 2016 NCAA heptathlon champion Kendell Williams sits in 13th. NCAA third place finisher and Kansas State athlete representing Barbados, is in fourth after day one.
As Theisen-Eaton goes into the second and final day of the heptathlon, she will have to have big marks in the long jump, javelin and the 800-meter race, if she wants to clinch a medal. No matter the place Theisen-Eaton ends in, there is no doubt that Ashton will be there to support her in the end, “Canada” hat or not.