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Athletics' best all-rounder, Ashton Eaton and wife Brianne retire with 3 Olympic medals between them

The couple also boast five world championship medals as they bow out at 28.

BACK-TO-BACK Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton and wife Brianne Theisen-Eaton, who capped her own fine heptathlon career with Bronze in Rio, both retired at the age of 28 today.

Poland Athletics Indoor Worlds Ashton and Brianne warm up together at the 2014 world indoor championships in Poland. Source: Alik Keplicz

The Canadian and US multi-discipline husband-and-wife team could often be seen roaring each other on at trackside during competition. But have both hung up their spikes, shot puts and javelins.

“It’s my time to depart from athletics, to do something new,” Eaton wrote in the statement.

“Frankly there isn’t much more I want to do in sport. I gave the most physically robust years of my life to the discovery and pursuit of my limits in this domain.”

Eaton won gold for Team USA in the decathlon at London 2012 before retaining his title in Rio last August. He also won world championship gold in Moscow in 2013 and in Beijing in 2015.

Rio Olympic Games 2016 - Day Thirteen Source: Matt Dunham

He is just the third man to win back-to-back Olympic golds in the discipline, following in the footsteps of his compatriot Bob Mathias (1948, 1952) and Britain’s Daley Thompson (1980, 1984).

Eaton’s retirement was greeted with surprise by French rival Kevin Mayer, silver medallist behind him in Rio.

“It’s a shock,” Mayer told AFP. “I thought it would be rather the end of this year. It’s a little bit of a shame for me — I was hoping to do another competition or two against him.

“It was always an inspiration to compete against him.”

Canadian Theisen-Eaton, a double world silver medallist who won heptathlon bronze in Rio, wrote:

My passions and interests have changed. Track has given me so much, but it’s time to retire. Thank you for the journey.”

Theisen-Eaton, winner of the women’s pentathlon gold medal at the World Indoor Championships in Portland last March, said she realised immediately after her bronze medal in Rio that she was ready to quit the sport.

“I was mentally exhausted. I have never been so thankful to be finished of something in my life,” she wrote.

“I felt like I never wanted to do another heptathlon again. This feeling confused me.

“I took three months to completely get away. I didn’t think about those feelings. I didn’t want to make any decisions based on my mental exhaustion.

Rio Olympic Games 2016 - Day Seven Source: Matt Dunham

“But as the start of the 2017 season drew nearer, I felt more and more resistant to begin training… I no longer have the passion for track and field or the heptathlon that I used to.”

The duo concluded their retirement statements with thanks for each other.

“To Brianne: I’ve never seen such a high level of strength sustained for so long. I love you. What now??” Eaton wrote.

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