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Eaton’s wife looking for medal in heptathlon

August 12, 2013

MOSCOW (AP) — One day after Ashton Eaton won his first world title in the decathlon, his newlywed wife is in the running for a medal in the heptathlon.

Brianne Theisen Eaton, who married the Olympic decathlon champion last month, stood in fourth place Monday after the first day of the seven-discipline event.

“I watched Ashton win the gold, but I switched the TV off as soon as the result was announced,” said the 24-year-old Canadian, who went to the University of Oregon with Eaton. “I was just trying not to get too excited and to get the needed sleep.”

The heptathlon at this year’s world championships is wide open because of the absence of Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill and defending champion Tatyana Chernova. Both are out injured.

That gave Ganna Melnichenko of Ukraine an opening, and she took it, amassing 3,912 points at Luzhniki Stadium. Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands is second with 3,837 points, followed by Sharon Day of the United States in third with 3,836.

With her husband watching from the stands, Theisen Eaton jumped out to a quick lead after finishing the opening 100-meter hurdles with the fastest time of the day, 13.17 seconds. But she soon dropped to second after the high jump and then fourth after the shot put.

A strong run in the 200 kept her well within striking distance of the medals with 3,810 points.

“The highlight of the first day for me was probably the hurdles,” Theisen Eaton said. “I was nervous before the high jump. I think I just put too much pressure on myself, I didn’t even know why.”

The three remaining events are set for Tuesday, with the long jump and javelin in the early session and the closing 800-meter race in the evening.

Melnichenko is hoping still to be the one everyone is chasing by the final race.

“Tomorrow I want to get a good result in the long jump. I know that my javelin isn’t great and I can’t really do anything about it at that point,” Melnichenko said, then made light of her situation.

“I’d better compete in a six-event competition rather than in the heptathlon.”

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