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Olympics Hype! Gigi Hadid and Ashton Eaton (World’s Greatest Athlete) feature on the cover of Vogue

Fashion meets Sports as Gigi Hadid (biggest face in fashion) and Ashton Eaton (World’s Greatest Athlete) meet as they feature on the cover of vogue. Scroll down for Photos…

As Gigi Hadid tries out some moves in the season’s best performance looks, Olympic decathlete Ashton Eaton gives her some pointers.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that Gigi Hadid, the model who may be the biggest face in fashion right now, can’t possibly have much in common with an Olympic decathlete, except for the obvious, given that Ashton Eaton is poised to be the face of the 2016 games in Brazil.

A few degrees of separation, however, connect them in surprising ways, at least in a pop-cultural sense. Hadid’s fans can recite family trees and point you through marriages and remarriages and casts of reality TV, all of which link Hadid to her best friend, Kendall Jenner, who is—in case you have been living in a cave for a while—the daughter of the last really famous decathlete.

Just ask Ashton Eaton about 1976, in Montreal, when Americans were high on bicentennial fever, hyped up by the Cold War (one competitor was a Soviet track-and-field star), and desperate to break a decathlete drought. Like then–Bruce Jenner, Eaton is in that high-altitude category of gold medal–winning, world record–setting athletes who break their own records.

And also like Jenner, whose appearance on a Wheaties box in 1977 helped jump-start the current culture of sports celebrities, Eaton is currently endorsed by a galaxy of sponsors—from Nike to Coca-Cola to Gillette—each reminding us that the guy who is today meeting Hadid for the first time is looking for a gold in this month’s Olympics in the event that would make him the single best all-around athlete in the world.

For the record, Hadid is pretty excited to meet this world champion. You can see it in her reaction when she grabs a javelin to test her grip, and Eaton offers some tips. “She has natural ability,” he announces.

“My dad was an Olympic skier,” Hadid points out. She is beaming.

“Oooh,” Eaton says. Double take. “Downhill or mogul?”

“Downhill.”

“Ah, so does he have bad knees?”

“Horrible; that’s why he had to stop skiing. He went when he was, like, 43.” (Mohamed Hadid was one of the oldest skiers at Albertville, in France, in 1992.)

“Forty-three to the Olympics!” Eaton says. “Wow, that’s really fit.”

The other thing they have in common is that at one point Gigi imagined herself—just maybe—as being destined for the Olympics, too.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, because when Gigi Hadid and Ashton Eaton meet on the beach in Santa Barbara, they talk about the place that they both at times call home.

The sky is blue, the dolphins are breaching, and the Channel Islands loom like a couple of those big inflatable cushions that a decathlete falls into after he sprints, then plants his pole, then vaults, and then, in so doing, rises like a fish up a waterfall before at last descending, the taut stretch of his body seeming to disassemble in that beautiful strategic flop.

For a few months a year, Eaton lives and trains in this Pacific-coast city that has been called the American Riviera.

“Hey, Ash!” That’s Harry Marra, the legendary decathlete coach, who is also here, as Ashton pretends to launch a javelin toward the water while showing Hadid some pointers.

“Hey, just let one go for fun, Ash—just wing it!” Marra says.

Does the 28-year-old, six-foot-one superstar contemplate setting an all-new world javelin-into-the-ocean record at that precise moment, and note that on a field he throws the 28-ounce sliver of steel about 72 yards?

We only know that his thoughts are suddenly interrupted. He shouts, “Look, it’s Bruce Kennedy!” Ashton is pointing down the beach to one of the world’s great javelin throwers, ranked among the top ten in the United States from 1978 to 1982.

Because, as Gigi and Ashton are both indicating, that’s the vibe in this town, with its dry hills greened with piñon and California juniper, its coastal grasses flowering in blues, its well-considered coffee places, and the sense that as you round each corner you might run into a stand-up paddler or the ghost of Ronald Reagan on a break from chopping wood at his ranch in the Santa Ynez Mountains. Is it just me, or are the eighties still fragrant in Santa Barbara, like the Jeffrey pine?

Read more at Vogue

 

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