Olympian Ashton Eaton: Caitlyn Jenner Is ‘Still Very Much Involved’ With Decathlon

Ashton Eaton and Caitlyn Jenner
Ashton Eaton and Caitlyn Jenner Clive Brunskill/Getty Images; ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images

Once an Olympian, always an Olympian! In 1976 Caitlyn Jenner became an American hero winning gold in the decathlon at the Montreal Summer Games, and she has remained a big part of the sport ever since!

Current Olympian decathlon champ Ashton Eaton, who took home gold in London in 2012, has had a relationship with Jenner throughout his career.

“[She] talked to me before the games, gave me some encouragement and some advice about how the Olympics is different and there is more pressure, and to just keep doing the things that I’ve done already,” Eaton exclusively tells Us Weekly of their conversation before the 2012 games. “I thought that was helpful. It was good to hear.”

While Jenner has certainly had her hands full in the years since the last Olympics, — most notably, becoming an advocate for the transgender community since coming out as a trans woman in April 2015 — she does continue to find time to keep up with the sport.

“She’s still very much involved in the athletic world, keeps track of things and keeping up on my wife [Canadian heptathlete Brianne Theisen-Eaton] and I,” the 28-year-old decathlete says.

And there is much to keep up with, as Eaton prepares for his second Olympics in August — this time with an interesting new advantage for recovering in between the competition’s 10 events. 

Ashton Eaton
Ashton Eaton Christian Petersen/Getty Images

“Nike came to me and said we’re interested in the decathlon and interested in seeing if we can help you get as close to 10,000 points as we can,” he tells Us. “Essentially we got down to recovery is the most important part. I told them if I could, I would take a shower in between each event because it feels like I’ve restarted. So they thought of this cooling hood idea, when it’s hot and you have the water and the cold on your face … it wakes you up a little bit. So that’s what they developed and then the other aspect was like getting away from stuff, you put a hoodie on, you put sunglasses on and you just kind of get in the zone.”

It must be working! Eaton took home a gold at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing after wearing the new gear, improving his own world record.

To learn more about all the Olympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. The Olympics begin on August 5, 2016, on NBC’s networks.

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