Ashton Eaton's development
It is no news that Ashton Eaton was a decathlete possessing huge capacity on the track. Many might however feel that he left the stage to early retiring at the age of only 28 when many decathletes are known to start to achieve their prime and hence some of his potential in the field events were left undiscovered. Even after seven global titles and five world records it is understandable that it has left some questions. Especially when no one in recent history of the event have broken the world record, indoor nor outdoor, with room to spare in some of the more “valuable” events. Let’s take for an example hist last world record in the decathlon which stood for a little over three years where he ended at “only” (by his standards) 7.88 in the long jump when on the contrary both Roman Šebrle and Kevin Mayer produced a lifetime best in the event when they set their records.
Below are three tables showing Ashton’s median development compared to the median development of all decathletes who have scored beyond 8500 points. The reason medians are chosen instead of means is because medians are less affected by radical numbers.
Here you can see that Ashton was well beyond average in the shorter runs right from the start and also developing his 1500m run to become one strong event for him. Many other decathletes improved their sprints a lot on their journey from 7000 to beyond 8500 points while Ashton’s development is more gentle and not showing any clear improvement after 8250 points.
The same trend is to be seen in the long jump, one of Ashton's strongest events, where the development did not increase much after scoring 8250 points. In the pole vault he did develop a lot for it to becoming one of his stronger events compared to the others. The high jump did take a negative turn during his best series and his only weaker event among the runs and jumps.
The beauty of decathlon is truly shown in his development in the throws. Even though he stayed below average in all three of them here is where the big improvement happened. The javelin and shot put took some big steps even after scoring over 8250 points explaining why he ended up becoming so dominant under his five years on the throne.