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The consistent brilliance of Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton is unmatched

Eaton added a second gold medal to his already unmatched resume.

Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

He's not as decorated as Michael Phelps or Katie Ledecky, or as electric as Usain Bolt or Simone Biles, but Ashton Eaton is just as dominant as the other stars of Rio.

Eaton won the decathlon again in Rio on Thursday, defending his Olympic title from London, and he did it with seeming ease once more despite coming into the Games with an ailing hamstring. He scored 8893 points, 59 clear of Kévin Mayer of France in second place. Eaton didn't set the world record, but he already has that. On Wednesday and Thursday in the Olympic stadium, Eaton did what he always does: He proved he was the best all-around athlete in the world.

Eaton's brilliance lies in his unwavering consistency of strength, speed and athleticism -- a brilliance that is spread out over two days and 10 events, unlike the other stars of the games who amaze with bursts of greatness.

Eaton, along with his bronze-medal winning wife, Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Canada, has been all over the airwaves in the lead up to, and during, the Games, but he often competes in the shadows. While cameras focus on the event finals taking place on the track and in the field, the decathletes bide their time over 10 feats -- and in Brazil it was 95 degrees -- as TV coverage pops in and out with updates.

Over 12 hours on Wednesday, Eaton ran 10.46 seconds in the 100, long jumped 26'0.5, threw the shot put, a 16-pound iron ball, 48'4, high jumped 6'7 and ran 400 meters in 46.07 seconds.

Then, over another 12-hour day on Thursday, Eaton ran 13.80 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles, threw the discus 149'3, pole vaulted 17'0.75, hurled the javelin 196'1 and, after all that, ran 1500 meters (about a mile) in 4:23.

While those stats are mind-blowing to mere mortals, they're not results that would do much damage on their own. It's in the vacuum of the decathlon that they're so awe-inspiring. Sure, Bolt has run 9.58 for the 100, but he says he's never even run a mile. Wayde van Niekerk ran 43.03 to break the world record in the 400, but it's doubtful he can chuck a discus half the distance of a football field. And Eaton does it all in a day, casually dropping world class performances on tired legs -- and he often does it with a smile on his face.

Eaton became the third person ever to defend an Olympic title in the decathlon, joining Great Britain's Daley Thompson (1980 and 1984) and the United States' Bob Mathias (1948 and 1952). He already was the greatest decathlete of all time, but this win put him in uncharted territory.

It's a shame that Eaton will have only two gold medals after competing in 20 events over four days at two different Olympics. He may not have the 28 medals to match Phelps, but hopefully Eaton savors them -- they're well deserved.

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Eaton revealed before Rio why he became a decathlete