Dan O'Brien

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1
RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameDaniel Dion "Dan"•O'Brien
Used nameDan•O'Brien
Born18 July 1966 in Portland, Oregon (USA)
Measurements188 cm / 84 kg
AffiliationsFoot Locker Athletic Club, New York (USA)
NOC United States


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.

A native of Oregon, O’Brien settled in the Phoenix area, where he ran a gym in Scottsdale, Gold Medal Acceleration, coached at Arizona State University, and also did commentary on televised track meets.

O’Brien has been inducted into multiple Halls of Fame, including the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame (2005), the National Track and Field Hall of Fame (2006), the University of Idaho Sports Hall of Fame (2007), and the United States Olympic Hall of Fame (2012). The University of Idaho’s outdoor track and field venue was named in his honor in 1996. A street in his hometown of Klamath Falls was named for him 1996, and Henley High School renamed its football field after him in 2010.

Personal Best: Dec – 8,891 (1992)


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1996 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Dan O'Brien
Decathlon, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold

Special Notes