As Governor Kitzhaber and legislative leaders prepared to resume their Mahonia Hall budget talks this afternoon, Oregon House members celebrated Ashton Eaton, the popular and photogenic LaPine Olympian who holds world records in the decathlon and heptathlon.
After passing House Concurrent Resolution 31, lawmakers posed for pictures with Eaton, the 2012 decathlon gold medalist in London.
Eaton was a five-time NCAA champion while competing for the University of Oregon. He now competes for the Oregon Track Club Elite, also based in Eugene.
He peaked at the right time for the 2012 Olympics, winning his first international medal in 2011 at the World Championships, then setting the world record in the decathlon in the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene. Eaton was only the second Olympic decathlete to exceed 9,000 points.
HCR 31 gave Eaton the title of "world's greatest athlete," which in this case may not be an exaggeration. The decathlon includes 10 disparate track and field events. A decathlete runs 100, 400 and 1,500 meter races, plus the 110-meter hurdles. Field events include the long jump, high jump, pole vault, shot put, discus and javelin.
The heptathlon covers seven events — a 60-meter dash, the 60-meter hurdles and a 1,000-meter run, plus the long jump, high jump, shot put and pole vault. Eaton set the world record in the heptathlon in March 2012 in Istanbul, just three months before setting the decathlon world record at the Olympics in June.
Oh yeah, the governor and legislative leaders met for three hours yesterday, producing a diplomatic cable about "productive talks that were continuing." They apparently continue this afternoon, amid some optimistic reports of a potential agreement on further cuts to the Public Employee Retirement System and additional tax revenue. The aim is to balance the state budget and possibly push up the amount of funding for K-12 schools.