Ashton Eaton is the greatest decathlete of all time, which makes him one of the world’s greatest athletes.  When he announced his retirement on Thursday, I congratulated him on a great career and reminded him that the long jump awaits.  He’s only 28 and he’s already a 27’ jumper.  He’s right there with the talent, and with the same focus, I feel he could be an Olympic medalist in the long jump as well .  I’ve talked to him about my view that it’s time to get that done.

This week, I changed my mind.   Ashton retiring changed everything.  Someone once asked me, “When is the right time to retire?”  My answer was, “When you’re ready to stop.”  When that moment hits, you just know.

Ashton has told us that he’s ready to “…depart from athletics, to do something new.” It’s apparent to me that he’s ready to stop.  And I have to be true to my word.  So, while I’d love to see him jump, I’m happy that he’s doing what he feels he wants to do.

Ashton, enjoy your retirement, and just don’t be a stranger to the sport.

Carl Lewis

P.S.  I sure would have loved to see how far you could have gone.

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