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InTechnology Podcast

#45 – Talking Olympics Cyber Security with a Two-Time Gold Medalist

With the Tokyo Olympics on the horizon, we thought it would be incredibly interesting to explore the ways in which cyber security can impact athletes and the world of sports. 2x Olympic gold medal decathlete Ashton Eaton joins us for today’s episode of Cyber Security Inside to offer his point of view.


We cover:

  • Some of the specific security risks associated with big sporting events like the Olympics
  • Who might be interested in tampering with data, and why
  • Eaton’s career trajectory and how he wound up a decathlete
  • What a typical day might look like for an Olympic athlete in competition, from training to walking around the Olympic Village
  • What advice he’d give to the Tokyo Organizing Committee for this summer’s upcoming Olympic Games

…and more.


Be sure to tune in pre-Olympics for some great insider insight!


The views and opinions expressed are those of the guests and author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Intel Corporation.

Here are some key take-aways:

  • Security is increasingly becoming a topic of interest in the sports world; as more and more athletes track their biometrics digitally, there is more risk for cyber attacks related to sensitive performance-related information.
  • There is growing concern that individuals or even governments of certain countries might tamper with results to benefit themselves.
  • Even things like blood panels and urine sample results from anti-doping tests could theoretically be exploited by hackers.
  • In addition to sufficient security, logistical efficiency and reliable, timely transportation play a key role for athletes in the Olympics, and it’s important for organizers to get those things right.


Some interesting quotes from today’s episode:

“You have to think, Well, what kind of information is being collated specifically for this event? And what could happen that could be nefarious or bad, necessarily?


“At the individual athlete level, you have everything from the data you’re generating about your performance to perhaps your physiology–something as simple as notes from your physical therapist on your physical state to maybe some kind of app you’re using to track your training, whether it be your times or whatnot, to a blood panel that you’ve taken to kind of assess your fitness.”


“I was thinking, I have no clue who has access to my stuff. As athletes gather more information on themselves, whether it be video or whether it be spreadsheets of information, whether it’s their times or their nutrition or whatever it is, I think it’s an increasing concern.”


“What would be more impactful is if you did have access to data from your competitors that basically showed that they were cheating in some way, shape or form.”


“Tampering with the event itself is becoming probably more of a security issue. Anything from timing, right? I mean, you look at something like swimming – oftentimes those world records or those races, when that hand presses that little thing underneath the water there, there are like hundredths of a second. How simple would it be for somebody with means to be able to just switch that sucker around?”


“I think the absolute key to make things successful from an athlete’s perspective is logistical efficiency.”

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Tom Garrison: [00:00:00] Hi, and welcome to Cyber Security Inside podcast. I’m your host, Tom Garrison. And with me as always is my co-host Camille Morhardt Camille, how are you? Hi, Tom.

Camille Morhardt: [00:00:12] I’m doing really well today. Excited for our topic, diving into a world. I’m not familiar with the sport world.

Tom Garrison: [00:00:18] Yes. We always pride ourselves in casting a wide net when it comes to talking about security. And today’s discussion is I think [00:00:30] fascinating because we’ve decided to delve into what does security mean in the world of sport. And we have a former Olympian Ashton Eaton. When we think about security, of course, we typically think about computers and hacking and ransomware and what are those kinds of things, but in the world of sport security means something different.

Camille Morhardt: [00:00:55] He almost thinks of himself and his performance [00:01:00] as I won’t say public information, but it’s like, you know, he’s negotiating contracts on his performance. That doesn’t seem as private to him probably as what you and I came into the conversation thinking, well, your biometrics and your performance data must be very, you know, important to secure. And of course it is, but I think he shed some light on a different aspect of security that we hadn’t thought of when we started the conversation.

Tom Garrison: [00:01:27] And I think without giving too much [00:01:30] of it away when you’re dealing with various sports and obviously he’s a decathlete, but really with any type of sport, there’s the mental angle. Of competition and especially competition at that level. So you have to be at your best and, you know, the, the way to potentially impact or influence these sporting events may just be create enough of a distraction to [00:02:00] where you get these world-class athletes. Off of their game. They’re just thinking about something else.
They’re worried about something else. Something doesn’t go quite as they expect. And they’re just off. That was eye-opening because now where you may choose to attack, isn’t something that’s so hardened, like the timing mechanism for a race or something. Now you can go after it. Much softer target. That really is just about [00:02:30] messing with the athletes.

Camille Morhardt: [00:02:31] Yeah. It really opened my eyes to the level of protection that you need in all of the different, yeah. I’ll say compute systems, but we wouldn’t even think of some of them as compute systems, but all of the different systems that, that are present in these giant sporting events and how much more open a lot of that stuff probably is if you’re not thinking about it from that angle.

Tom Garrison: [00:02:58] You know, I think there’s, there’s [00:03:00] something to be said for thinking about what is the real motivation here? Of course, we always talk about, well, ransomware and they’re getting money or, or some other sort of more, I guess, tangible return on an attack, but it may also just be almost like site psychological warfare and there’s a great, you know, microcosm of that could be athletics. So let’s get into it. I think this is a, a really thought [00:03:30] provoking topic. Not just because it’s interesting in that it’s sports, but also the broader connotation. So let’s get started.

Tom Garrison: [00:00:00] Our guest today is Ashton Eaton. He is a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon. He represented Nike during his professional track and field athletic career, while working with Nike’s Innovation Team on the design and function of various sport performance products engineered for elite athletes. He’s going to school to complete his engineering degree while he works at Intel as a Product Development Engineer in the Olympics team. So welcome to the podcast Ashton.

Ashton Eaton: [00:00:30] Thanks for having me very glad to be here.

Tom Garrison: [00:00:32] You know, we were just talking a few seconds ago about a little bit of the history of the Decathlon. And I remember as a kid growing up here in Oregon and we had the whole Dan and Dave kind of competition thing going on. So, and you’re also from Oregon, right?

Ashton Eaton: [00:00:51] That’s right. That was a, I was born in Portland, grew up in central Oregon, in Bend. I wasn’t around for Dan and Dave, but I do remember a lot of folks talking about it.

Tom Garrison: [00:00:59] Yeah, you were too young way, too young. But it was definitely a cool thing. And, um, you know, seeing them or seeing one of them, I guess, compete in the Olympics and then obviously the whole run-up, it was pretty incredible. But actually that answered one of my questions was did you get into decathlon because of some of that sort of hype earlier on, but I guess the answer is no.

Ashton Eaton: [00:01:25] No. Um, I got into the decathlon [00:01:30] in a very interesting way and I think actually most decathletes do. So for folks who don’t know, the decathlon is a, uh, a track and field event where you do 10 different events within tracking. And these events are spaced out over two days–we do five events a day. So the first day you do the 100 at the long jump, the shot put, the high jump and then the 400-meter dash. And the second day you do the 110-meter hurdles, the discus, the pole vault, the javelin, and then the 1500- meter [00:02:00] dash.
And so when you’re, when you’re a young person, nobody like actually chooses to do that (laughs). I didn’t even know it existed actually. But what happened was I was in high school and I was a decent athlete in high school. Nothing super outstanding. I think I like won the state meet in the 400 and the long jump. But my senior year I was, uh, you know, looking to go to colleges. And at the time I was looking at Division Two and Three colleges, you know, I was gonna play football and do track and field and study [00:02:30] something somewhere.
But my high school track coaches, they were very astute and they said, “Ashton, we know you’re a good athlete. And we actually think you can get a Division One scholarship. If you say, you’re going to do this other event called the decathlon.” And that was like, “huh? Division one scholarship. That sounds good. What’s a decathalon?” (he and Tom laugh)
So this is my senior year. They told me what it was. I [00:03:00] said, “Hey, you know, this, this kind of sounds interesting.” So they actually went around calling colleges around Oregon and California and Washington on my behalf saying, “Hey, we have this kid goes to our high school. Here’s what he does in the long jump and 400. But we think he could be good to decathlete.” They said, “what does he long jump, pole vault, disc javelin, what does he do in those?” And they’re like, “well, he doesn’t, but he’s, he’s really athletic. You should just check him out.”
So honestly, nobody did except for the University of Oregon. I think that was because I was at a track meets in Portland and they just kind of drove up to watch it. And [00:03:30] the coach liked what he saw. And so I got a partial scholarship to the University of Oregon and the mailbox shortly thereafter. And then my freshman year, I just started training in the decathlon and I ended up getting, I think second in the PAC 10 at the time. And then, uh, by my sophomore year, I was winning NCAAs.

Camille Morhardt: [00:03:50] So you had it Division One scholarship for the decathlon and you had never pole vaulted?

Ashton Eaton: [00:03:55] That’s right (laughs). Um, I should note though it was [00:04:00] a partial scholarship, a very, very partial scholarship. And it also helps that I was in-state. Right. So in-state tuition is like significantly less than out-of-state, so.

Camille Morhardt: [00:04:10] So what was the first time pole vaulting? Like, do you work up to it or is that kind of an all or nothing?

Ashton Eaton: [00:04:17] It’s both. So you do work up to it. And, uh, obviously I had to advance rapidly and they knew this. So they were kind of putting me to the test because I think you show up in September and your first competitions are indoor around like [00:04:30] January, February.
But you start out with like walking drills, like literally walking with a pole vault pole in your hand. And then kind of like doing the motion of setting it down and jumping. And then you graduate to doing that in kind of a long jump pit where you stick the pole in the sand, as you’re jumping a few feet off the ground, and then you graduate to the actual pole vault pit, but you’re of course not going very high.
And then at some point you just really have to put like a little bar or a bungee up there and say, “Hey, you have to go for it.” And, uh, [00:05:00] when we watch pole vault today, we see the pole bend and all these like cool physics and they get launched off the top. But that doesn’t happen when you’re young. It’s just like, imagine, uh, jumping from rock to rock. And it’s just kind of a straight pole thing.

Tom Garrison: [00:05:12] Yeah. I, um, I tried one time and, uh, I made it up about maybe, I don’t know, maybe six or eight feet. I was still at about a 40-degree angle. So I came, crashing back down backwards and, [00:05:30] decided then and there that I am nowhere near athletic enough for this.
So, but we didn’t have you here to talk about the pole vault. We had you here to talk about security and what an interesting sort of background that I think most people don’t think about when you think about large-scale athletic competitions, like the Olympics. And so I wonder, just from your perspective, when you [00:06:00] think about security and large events, you know, world-class type athletics, how does security factor into an event like that? Aside from physical security though, we’re not talking about, you know, keeping people from guns, you know, that kind of thing, but just, you know, cyber security. How does that factor in?

Ashton Eaton: [00:06:20] So there’s just so many ways and I’ll try to kind of go through this logically or break it down. But, um, When we’re talking about cyber security, we’re talking [00:06:30] about people’s information or the information of organizations. When you talk about something like the Olympic Games, it’s like, okay, well, that’s like a lot of folks in a lot of organizations involved in putting this event together. Frankly, probably one of the, the largest, maybe outside of the world cup in the world, as far as countries and organizations and people coming together. And then I think when you look at that, you have to think, “well, what kind of information is being collated specifically for this event? then what could happen [00:07:00] that could be nefarious or bad necessarily?
And so I can speak from the athlete side of things where you have these countries that are let’s call it The Big Circle. And within that country, you have the different sport organizations that are kind of smaller circles. And then within those sport organizations, you know, you can imagine the track and field organization, the, uh, canoe, kayak, the rowing, the mountain bike, like there’s all these different sports. And so within those organizations, they have the individual athletes or the teams, if [00:07:30] you will, which are smaller circles within that.
And then you get down to the individual athlete and all the information, the, each one of those circles has its own dataset, if you will. At the individual athlete level, you have everything from the data you’re generating about your performance to perhaps your physiology–something as simple as notes from your physical therapist on your physical state to maybe some kind of app you’re using to track your training, whether it be [00:08:00] your times or whatnot, to a blood panel that you’ve taken to kind of assess what’s your fitness.
Or there’s a World Anti-Doping Agency that has all this information on athletes–their blood panels, their urine samples, and like, are these people taking drugs? And so if you, if you think about just the individual athlete and then you go up to the club and the team, they have information to all these athletes that even the athletes themselves aren’t gathering, like where they live or what rank they are on the team or maybe anything else specific. Then you go up to [00:08:30] the United States level or the country level, and then you finally get to the Olympic level. And it’s just like mind-boggling where all this stuff just allocates around the, the Olympic games (laughs).

Camille Morhardt: [00:08:40] Is the information shared across those organizations or does it tend to be kept in silos? I mean, if you take one blood test, does that end up with ten different organizations?

Ashton Eaton: [00:08:52] That is a good question. Um, so I think the answer is both. I think the, the [00:09:00] information, uh, starts in silos. So I’ll get to the blood test one specifically in a second, but the information probably starts in a silo. Maybe I have something about my training with just myself and my coach, and it’s just like my log, but I might share that via email or some kind of web link to, um, my agent or to the United States Track and Field Federation. And so it’ll start in silos, but I think there are like a little bridge [00:09:30] connections for specific bits that go to somewhere else. And then like, who knows what they do with it after that. Right. So it’s a very typical network image that we have with the node and it kind of spreads from there.
You know, regarding the, like the blood panel or the urine information. I actually don’t know specifically what WADA does with that, but you would hope and imagine that they would

Camille Morhardt: [00:09:54] That’s the world anti-doping?

Ashton Eaton: [00:09:54] Yeah, that’s the world anti-doping agency. But you would hope it imagined [00:10:00] that that information is protected in place and in transit. Now I can explain the way that that stuff gets collected and then we can maybe even see, where are the vulnerabilities are at here?
Well, there’s two ways to do it. Somebody will come to your house and collect a urine sample. That person is a paid person to do that. They’re in the United States are coming to see me. They work for the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which I believe is some kind of like subsidiary of WADA or WADA works with them to [00:10:30] get that info.
Now from there, I think the sample either goes one of two places–somewhere in UCLA where there’s these like very expensive machines to analyze this stuff, or somewhere in Switzerland where WADA is headquartered.
So if it goes to one of those two places, you know, like what happens to it? Where’s the database where people get to see and, and talk and collaborate on this stuff? Does one lab have a machine that tests for something where the other lab doesn’t therefore, do they have to like share stuff? I don’t, I actually don’t [00:11:00] mean know. That just needs to be a secure piece of information, as you can imagine.

Tom Garrison: [00:11:05] I think it’s interesting, I read somewhere that it’s not just the particular competition that is being analyzed when they do blood tests or urine tests, whatever. They actually keep those samples for years. And as technology improves, that they can go back retroactively years back and do testing to see if there was some sort of [00:11:30] doping or cheating that was going on that at the time couldn’t be picked up by the instruments of the day.

Ashton Eaton: [00:11:36] No. Now, now that you’re kind of having me reflect back on some of these things–cause I, I retired 2017–what is interesting that I, I forgot to note is when you do a drug test, you have to fill out a piece of paper. Uh, actually it used to be a piece of paper. Now, if it’s a digital thing. But it asks you all [00:12:00] these questions, like basic information name, address, where the test was taken? what time? dah-duh-da. And then you have to list all the supplements that you’re taking at the time. Ibuprofen or I got sick, so I took some NyQuil or I take an iron supplement, that kind of thing. Then you have to sign off on it.
Historically I would, we would go to like a major competition, like the Gainesville Championships and you would just fill out this piece of paper and it was that kind of paper with like the, um, the carbon [00:12:30] copy. And there’d be like three carbon copies. Right. So you’d fill out the top and then you would get like the pink one and they take the other two to like wherever. And I’m sitting there thinking like, “how easy is that to just screw up? It’s just like a piece of paper and where does it go?” Because I’m thinking “out of all, the thousands of athletes are being drug tested. Where’s the filing cabinet for this stuff.” Um, but you know, I, I have my pink carbon copy that, you know, I still continue to [00:13:00] keep to this day just cause you never know, I guess. So that’s like a security practice from my standpoint. It’s like, I’m not throwing that stuff out because if somebody messes with it, who knows.
Camille Morhardt: [00:13:09] I have to ask, like, are you and other athletes concerned actively about your data–your biometric data, other kinds of data, your blood sand urine samples and it’s security and privacy, or do you feel like you’re such a product by that point that it’s almost public information?

Ashton Eaton: [00:13:29] In [00:13:30] 2012, I was not concerned. I was capturing very small amounts of digital data stored on a computer network or the computer somewhere accessed by a network. That makes sense. Everything was kind of like local on an SD card in my data was videos of me training. So I was like, “you know, who cares?” Uh, the only other information that I thought might’ve been sensitive was my, uh, drug testing information. Wherever this is going, like, I am just, you know, [00:14:00] by default trusting those folks.
But I had there, there was quite a few documentaries coming out about, uh, Russia and their drug testing and hacking and cheating things–just how like easy it was for somebody to gain access to that stuff. And I was thinking. “I have no clue who has access to my stuff.” So those two big things as time goes on and, and athletes gather more information on themselves, whether it be video or whether it be, you know, basically spreadsheets of information, whether it’s their times or [00:14:30] their nutrition or like whatever it is. I think it’s an increasing concern. It’s an increasing concern. It’s an increasing concern the more this stuff gets stored on networks and databases.
I don’t think frankly, many athletes–well, I don’t want to speak for many athletes–but I don’t think security is really thought about from an athlete’s perspective, just about what you’re doing.

MUDDY Tom Garrison: [00:14:53] If we stand back and just think about security at the overarching level. To me, there’s like [00:15:00] there’s cheating in the context of, okay, “can I somehow gain some information about my opponent? Or change my opponents information and basically accused them of cheating.”

Ashton Eaton: Right.

Tom Garrison: Um, or I can, uh, I can gather information about my opponents abilities. So whether how they’re training or what their scores are or what they’re capable of doing so that I know as a [00:15:30] competitor, I have to be at least that good or better.
And then the last thing would be, it’s not really cheating, it’s more like, “I want to just disrupt the event.” You know, the whole world is watching and I want to embarrass the country that’s putting it on. So I’m going to take down all the timing servers or something so that they can’t run events or is that, is that kind of right?
A m I missing another sort of [00:16:00] main element of security? When you think about those large events.

Ashton Eaton: [00:16:04] You know, I think those are broadly good, but there’s obviously, I think priority levels. Like in today’s world, because competitions are so public understanding of what my competitors are doing. If I had access to that before competition, that might be somewhat useful, but ultimately, unless there’s just like not doing anything until they go to the Olympics, I will most likely see what they’re [00:16:30] up to. So that would be like, I don’t know, it would be something that is possible, but probably just less impactful.
What would be more impactful is if you did have access to data from your competitors that basically showed that they were cheating in some way, shape or form.

Camille Morhardt: That’s a very interesting (laughs).

Ashton Eaton: Or just how they’re training, because that might inform you of other things. If [00:17:00] somebody is just continually running insane times in training, uh, or continually doing something, that’s just absolutely physically extraordinary. You’re kind of like, “what is going on here?” Then you obviously have the wherewithal to probably, you know, share that with whoever you want. So that’d be pretty impactful information from a security standpoint.
And then I think, you know, tampering with the event itself is becoming probably more of a security issue, [00:17:30] uh, than ever has because of the way that this stuff is digitized and just at access over, over networks, I imagine. Anything from timing, right? I mean, you look at something like swimming, oftentimes those, you know, world records or those races, when that hand presses that little thing underneath the water there, there are like hundreds of a second. how simple would it be for somebody with means to be able to just switch that sucker around. I mean, you wouldn’t even have to [00:18:00] be a hacker necessarily. You could just be in the control room and you could be from the country that you’re like, “oh, we’re going to go out to the thousands of the second here and yep they, uh, lost, but not on my watch (laughs), you know, just like whoop.
Who knows like how easy that stuff is, but I think it’s more prevalent to be impactful today because the Olympics, um, you think like, okay, “well you’re like switching a race, big deal.” The Olympics still stands for quite a bit [00:18:30] in the world that people like use it as a representation of, you know, country power or, you know, there’s big economic impacts as well from like a funding standpoint.
And I know of athletes from certain smaller countries where if they win a gold medal, especially, but any medal, they’re kind of like set for life. You know, that country absolutely takes care of them. It’s like the ancient days where it’s just like, here’s your house? Here’s your political leadership position. Here’s your “x”. And [00:20:30] so yeah, a lot of these countries, it’s a very big deal for these athletes.

Tom Garrison: [00:20:34] For all of us who haven’t been through the Olympics. Can you take us through, let’s say the day of your competition. So hopefully you’ve got some sleep the night before.
I don’t know how you possibly sleep, but let’s just say you do from the moment you wake up til you know, that you compete, what does that look like? What do you [00:21:00] do?

Ashton Eaton: [00:21:01] So when a specific day of competition, you first have to understand or understand the decathlon competition schedule. So the first race starts at 9am in the last race starts about 10:00 PM.
So we’re looking at like a 13-hour a day for a decathlete. So I usually get we’d get up at five. I would do my warmup and shake out at the village, which would take me half hour, 45 minutes. Then I would go eat. Then I’d [00:21:30] come back to the room, basically, you know, shower, dress prep, and get on the bus probably around 6:30/6:45. And it would take in Rio. I think it was about anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to get to the stadium. So I’m at the stadium. Let’s call it seven 15. The reason at the stadium at 7:15. The reason is because if my first race is at 9, I have to be in the call room an hour before that’s like a mandate by the folks putting on the gates and the call room is where they give you your, uh, bib. [00:22:00] They give you your number or tell you what lane you’re in. You put your spikes on it base where you just kind of sit there.
So I show up to the track at seven 15, I complete my warmup for, uh, another 45 minutes until eight. Probably get some massage, eat a little bit. And then, uh, once I’m in the call room, we get navigated to underneath the stadium, uh, to basically the second call room and we can do more warmups there. And then we essentially get escorted again around the stadium, underneath to the entrance tunnel.
You’d [00:22:30] be surprised how much like walking around there is actually other there. There’s quite a bit of like go for the warm up track to the call room, and then you walk like four or 500 meters to the, underneath the grandstand. Then you walk again to somewhere else to get to the thing. And then from that point on, you know, the competition goes, we go underneath the stadium every time we kind of switch events to long jump and what have you. Oh, I skipped this key thing to leave the village, you have to like get on it very specific bus. The Olympic Village has like its [00:23:00] own. They build their own bus station because there’s so many sports and so many athletes leaving us so many different times. There’s dedicated people on the U S staff, just like sitting at the bus station with a list of athletes saying like, “here’s what that is. You need to go on at this time” just to verify, cause you can get on the wrong one and like totally miss your competition, which you can imagine has actually happened before cause that’s, that’s a big deal there.

Camille Morhardt: [00:23:22] Are you sitting with a coach? All this stuff. It’s like, are you all by yourself? Your alarm goes off and then you’re like [00:23:30] going out to do this stuff. Or do you have somebody escorting you all over the place?

Ashton Eaton: [00:23:34] Frankly, it depends on who you are. Um, and then I guess like kind of what your needs are0. And, uh, yeah, I’m by myself. And then I probably meet my coach at the warmup track. And then I would maybe see him in the village for the warmup. Then when we were at the track, mostly with my coach and, uh, my support team, which would be my massage therapist and probably my agent or manager, although they’re, you know, they, they manage other athletes.
So they’re kind of out and about, but, uh, in those staging areas for the decathletes and heptahletes, we spend a lot of time underneath the state. And we’ll [00:24:30] eat we’ll chat. We’ll get massage, sleep.

Tom Garrison: [00:24:33] So if you were guests king for the day for the Tokyo Olympics, it’s right around the corner now, what advice would you give to the people that are putting on the event?

Ashton Eaton: [00:24:47] (laughs) Yeah, so for the Tokyo Organizing Committee, The National Organizing Committee, I think the absolute keys from an athlete perspective to make things successful are [00:25:00] logistical efficiency. So that transportation system, whatever time you put on that thing, it needs to be leaving at that time, because there’s been many of us that have sat on thinking, “Hey, this bus will get me to the stadium in time for me enough to warm up a blah, blah, blah.” And it’s leaving three minutes late. And I’m like tapping the bus driver on the shoulder saying, “when is this thing leaving?” Because he said it was leaving at this time. So that’s a big, big deal for athletes. Um, [00:25:30] and then I would say, uh, the, you know, from, from the accommodation standpoint, the things that we care.
Our, uh, food sleep and recovery afterwards, it could get social in the village, but, uh, those things really matter. So quality food and access the silence, essentially call the space for like sleeping and then letting your, your staff, your, your support staff, uh, into the village to give you treatment as you need it, because oftentimes credentialing is very hard, hard [00:26:00] to get all these other folks in the stadium, what have you.
And then finally, I would say that the biggest thing is the sports venues–whether it be the stadium or the, uh, you know, the court or the field or whatever. Just make it so the fans can be, you know, as close and I guess, as loud as possible and having the best time, frankly, if you did those three big things for athletes, you would have people really ready to produce their best.

Tom Garrison: [00:26:30] Well, this has been an interesting conversation. I can tell you, by the way, after hearing you describe sort of your day, if I were looking for maybe a softer target, I might look at the transportation system and just say, “Hey, is there some, is there some way that I can mess with that?”

Ashton Eaton: Oh, a hundred percent.

Tom Garrison: Because now the athletes, they get to… And even if they make it, yeah, they’re gonna be so stressed. They’re not going to up stress [00:27:00] everybody out, but I’m not,

Camille Morhardt: [00:27:02] you’re not looking for the softer target. (laughs)

Tom Garrison: [00:27:06] No, I’m not. But I hope that the people that are putting on the event or thinking about those kinds of things, cause security does matter for sure.

Tom Garrison: [00:27:37] Before we let you go, we have a segment on every one of our podcasts called Fun Facts. What kind of interesting fun fact would you like to share with our listeners?

Ashton Eaton: [00:27:51] My fun fact is about me personally and my performance–or preparing for a performance. [00:28:00] It’s not that it’s a ritual, but before I competed at any competition, I had to cut my fingernails or it was like the biggest distraction of all time.

Tom Garrison: Is there a backstory there?

Ashton Eaton: No, there’s no backstory. I think it was just like some weird OCD thing. If my fingernails weren’t trimmed, I felt like I was slower that I was not fully prepared to compete and that I wasn’t [00:28:30] like not put together. (laughs) It’s like some weird, like weird hygienic thing where it’s like, you know what, I really need to figure it out or this is just not going to be good.

Tom Garrison: Did you have a pair of socks?

Ashton Eaton: None of that. None of that everybody’s like, “Hey, did you have any, like, see a thing that you had to do?” And I was like, “no, no, but I do need to cut my fingernails.” (all laugh)

Tom Garrison: [00:28:50] Well, there you go. All right, Camille. So. What would you like to share with people today?

Camille Morhardt: [00:28:57] So I know I don’t normally bring sports on here, but [00:29:00] given the theme and that we’re talking to Ashton, I thought I would go out on a limb and I noticed that snowboarding debuted in the Olympics in 1998 in Nagano, Japan. And I looked up, well, what about skateboarding? And I found out that it’s going to debut this summer in Tokyo.
I thought it was interesting. They were both in Japan, too.
And then I looked up surfing because I’ve been getting into body boarding. And so I thought, “well, if we have, um, snowboarding and [00:29:30] skateboarding, what about surfing?” And I found out that surfing is also supposed to debut the summer in Japan. So I’m excited to watch all three of those.

Tom Garrison: [00:29:38] Wow. I know that they try, um, I forgot what they call them, but like trial. Uh, events and if it goes well, a couple of Olympics down the road, they may make an, an official event, but, uh, like an exhibition event or something, I think they call it. But that’s cool. Those are all three interesting sports. [00:30:00] So my fun fact, uh, after exhaustive research was that, um, back in ancient Greece for the original Olympics, they only gave out gold medals. That was it. You either won and you got a gold medal or that was it. And it wasn’t until the modern Olympics where we’re brought in that, uh, that they brought in the silver medal and the bronze medal.
Ashton, thank you so much for joining us today. It was a really interesting glimpse into the world of athletics. And thank you for sharing your background.

Ashton Eaton: [00:30:46] Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for having me and bringing up the issue of security around athletics and the Olympics.

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