SOPOT, Poland (AP) Whenever Ashton Eaton walks into an arena, a multi-event world record is up for grabs.
It will be no different at the world indoor championships starting Friday.
For good measure, Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia is going for another 3,000-meter mark and Sally Pearson of Australia is again sharp enough to challenge for the 60 hurdles record during the three-day competition.
Here are five things to watch for during the world indoor championships at the Ergo Arena:
HUNGRY EATON: Yes, the American already set the world record for the heptathlon at the last world indoors, but Eaton’s appetite has often proven insatiable. He is the reigning world and Olympic decathlon champion and world indoor champion.
His individual event performances over the winter show he is again in great shape. Add to that the promise of big crowds at the Ergo Arena and something special could be brewing.
”Good atmosphere and myself feeling good usually are a good combination,” Eaton said.
And he has an added incentive in wanting to impress his wife, Canadian athlete Brianne Theisen Eaton, who will be performing in the pentathlon.
”The first time we compete at the same time in such close proximity,” Eaton said. ”About the time I am on the long jump runway, she will be doing high jump only about 20 meters away.”
”It will increase our performances by making it feel a bit more like home.”
PEARSON’S BACK: In synch and healthy, there is no better hurdler than Sally Pearson. And she is finally getting back to that point after losing much of last season to hamstring tears.
She has already posted a season leading 7.79 seconds indoors, despite having run only three races. And each time, she feels better.
”There is still a lot more to improve on,” she said, but predicted most of the kinks would be out of her system by Saturday’s final.
”I plan to go a lot faster,” she said, adding the 6-year-old world record of 7.68 by Swedish hurdler Susanna Kallur was now within her reach. ”Given what I have raced already and the times that I have run, it could be possible.”
DIBABA’S NO. 4?: If any athlete has taken the winter season by storm it is Genzebe Dibaba.
The Ethiopian has already set world records in the 1,500 and 3,000 meters and a world best over two miles.
Too bad she won’t go for a double in Sopot.
She is already the reigning 1,500 champion and had wanted to add the 3,000. The program would have been too much, though.
”I had actually hoped to double and compete in both,” she said.
Still, with heats for the 3,000 set for Friday, blazing to another world record on Sunday would already be superlative.
Winning the race with a world-record time would earn her $90,000, compared to $40,000 for just taking gold. Still, she has no regrets she set herself such an uphill task.
”I really wanted to know how fast I could run,” she said.
CAMPBELL-BROWN’S COMEBACK : Just running and defending her 60-meter title is already a victory for Jamaican sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown.
Because of a doping scandal, she lost the chance to defend her 200 world outdoor title last year in Moscow. Just weeks before the world indoors, the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld her appeal and cleared the multiple Olympic champion of any anti-doping rule violation.
”We wish her success,” IAAF President Lamine Diack said after the world athletics federation had sought a two-year suspension.
In May, authorities said Campbell-Brown had tested positive for a banned diuretic at a local meet. The 31-year-old sprinter vowed to clear her name and accepted a provisional suspension while her case was reviewed.
OVERPOWERING AMERICANS: Two years ago in Istanbul, the U.S. team won an amazing 10 gold medals while no other country did better than two.
The record run of the Americans will certainly be tough to duplicate. This non-Olympic year brings new blood into the team which may hold promise but also has a lack of experience.
It can only make the task of veteran Bernard Lagat even tougher. Not only is the 39-year-old runner going for his fourth 3,000 title, he will also be counted upon to give the rookies guidance during the long weekend.
Follow Raf Casert on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/rcasert