Ashton Eaton: Gold Medalist Is Best Athlete in the World

Tim KeeneyContributor IAugust 9, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09:  Ashton Eaton of the United States competes during the Men's Decathlon Javelin Throw on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 9, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Ashton Eaton is the best athlete on the planet. 

You can have Michael Phelps or LeBron James or Usain Bolt or whoever else. I'll take the guy who can dominate 10 different track and field events over a span of two days. 

The 24-year-old American, of course, recently took home gold in the decathlon, a competition that pits top athletes against each other in (deep breath) the 100-meter dash, 110-meter hurdles, 400-meter, 1500-meter, long jump, shot put, high jump, discus throw, pole vault and javelin throw. 

I realize seeing LeBron James, a 250-pound behemoth, barreling down the lane with the athleticism of Vince Carter and the quickness of a point guard is truly a sight to behold. I realize Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time. I realize Usain Bolt is the fastest human alive.

But none of them have the sheer versatility of decathletes. LeBron is the closest out of all them, as a career in football wouldn't be out of the question, but you don't see Phelps trying out cycling or running and you don't see Bolt throwing a javelin over 60 meters.

It may seem like the point here is to berate Phelps, James and Bolt, but it's really not. They are, without a doubt, the absolute best at what they do. And there's no question about it. 

But no one on the planet has the rare combination of athleticism, endurance, strength and versatility that decathletes have.

And no decathlete is better than Eaton.

Yes, the budding athlete took home gold on Thursday in London, but despite coming just 24 points shy (the equivalent of about 0.1 seconds or less in a sprint) of the Olympic record, it wasn't even his best performance.

During the U.S. Olympic Trials in June, Eaton went out and set the world record. 

As it stands now, Ashton Eaton is the best in the world at arguably the most challenging sport in the world. You won't find someone who can do more with better success than this newly-crowned Olympic champion.