Dan O’Brien was the world’s premier decathlete in the 1990s. O’Brien won the 1996 Olympic gold medal, and was a three-time consecutive champion at the World Championships, winning in 1991, 1993, and 1995. He also won the World Indoor heptathlon title in 1993. He attended college at the University of Idaho.
O’Brien was a favorite for gold in 1992 at Barcelona. Another American, Dave Johnson, was also a strong medal contender that year. They both wore Reebok shoes and Reebok promoted them in a series of US television commercials called “Dan & Dave,” expecting to follow their exploits through to the Barcelona Olympics. Unfortunately, O’Brien no-heighted in the pole vault at the 1992 US Olympic Trials, and did not make the US team. Johnson won the Trials and went on to win bronze at Barcelona.
In September 1992 O’Brien broke the decathlon world record at the Décastar international meet in Talence, France, recording 8,891 points. It would remain his personal best throughout his career. He again won in Talence in 1994. O’Brien was US Champion in 1991, and 1993-96.
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