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Oregon Decathlete Ashton Eaton Pursues World Championship In Moscow

Tom Banse
Northwest News Network

Olympic athletes from the Northwest are steering clear of politics as they head for Moscow, Russia this week for the 2013 World Championships in track and field.

Springfield, Oregon half-miler Nick Symmonds condemned anti-gay bias in Russia in a blog entry he posted before departure. But he said he would avoid further comment, in his words "out of respect for the fact that I will be a guest in the host nation."

Decathlete Ashton Eaton of Eugene stuck to his training and his recent wedding in comments during a press conference in Moscow Wednesday. Eaton said he's eager to add a World Champion title to the gold medal he won at the London Olympics last summer.

"My preparation feels good," he said. "Am I the same as I was last year? I think physically I actually feel a little more worn down, but... I would say I'm ready to go."

Eaton arrives in Moscow as a newlywed. His bride is also entered in these world championships. Brianne Theisen Eaton competes for Canada in the heptathlon. The couple met on the University of Oregon track team.

Some other big names from last summer's London Olympics will be chasing medals in Moscow. The sizable contingent of Portland-area runners includes Galen Rupp, Lopez Lomong, and Shalane Flanagan. UW Husky alum Brad Walker is entered in the pole vault. Jesse Williams of Eugene is Russia-bound to defend his world title in the high jump.

On the Web:

2013 Track & Field World Championships - IAAF 
Blog post: 'The Playing Field Is Not a Place for Politics' - Runner's World

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.