As the countries entered the Rio track and field stadium at the start of this year's Olympics, the U.S.A. paraded in 558 athletes. At least 60 of those athletes could be traced back to Oregon in some way, whether it was their hometown, school, career or training spot. According to "The Washington Post," almost 20 of those Oregonian athletes currently or formerly played for the University of Oregon—more than the total number of Afghanistan and Mozambique athletes combined. And when not competing in the Olympics, about a quarter of the women on this year's USA women's soccer team plays for the Portland Thorns.
Track and field is the state's bread and butter, though. The presence of Nike and the University of Portland make Oregon an athletic gold mine that attracts some of the top athletes in the world. Bendites don't have to travel far for Olympic winners, either. Locally, runners from the Oregon Track Club Elite in Eugene strutted their stuff this year with several medal wins: Brianne Theisen-Eaton won bronze in the heptathlon. Francine Niyonsaba won silver in the 800 meters. While those two incredible athletes represented different countries—Canada and Burundi, respectively—Bend's own Ashton Eaton successfully defended his championship status, winning another gold medal in this year's decathlon. The Mountain View High School alum tied the Olympic record for the event with an impressive 8,893 points. Between his back-to-back Olympic wins and successive world championships in the decathlon, Eaton solidified his title as the Best All-Around Athlete in the World.
In an interview with AOL News, Eaton described what it felt like to win his second gold medal: "It's like (having) two chocolate cakes at different times. It's the same chocolate cake but your experience is different each time."
The Source congratulates Ashton Eaton and all our Oregonian Olympians on their awesome performances this year!