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“Next Olympic Hopeful” Contestant Brandon Pentheny Inspired By Olympic Champion, Former Training Mate Ashton Eaton

By Kara Tanner | Oct. 31, 2018, 5:30 p.m. (ET)

Brandon Pentheny trains training on July 28, 2018 at Scouting Camp: Next Olympic Hopeful in Colorado Springs, Colo.


Brandon Pentheny is back for round two. 

Passionate about sports and the Olympic movement, Pentheny knew he had to make his way back for the second season of “Milk Life presents, Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful.” 

Pentheny was a contestant on the first season, but wasn’t selected as a winner; however, he wasn’t ready to give up on his dream of becoming an Olympian.

“I applied again because I felt like it was a great avenue to help facilitate the Olympic journey,” Pentheny said. “This route gets you on a good pathway and maybe into a different sport that you haven’t done before.”

The talent-identification program is aimed at finding athletes with a background in any sport whose skills could transfer to various Olympic sports. The sports for Season 2 are bobsled, boxing, canoe/kayak, cycling, rowing, rugby, skeleton and weightlifting. One winner was selected for each sport, and the winners will attend camps with their sport in hopes of making the national team and, eventually, the Olympic team.

“I have two sports in mind,” said Pentheny. “The sliding sports and rugby. The power and speed of bobsled can carry over into rugby, and some of my other sport background facilitates into rugby.”

Pentheny attended the University of Oregon, where he was a competitive weightlifter and men’s basketball practice player. During his time at Oregon, he also had the opportunity to meet two-time Olympic champion Ashton Eaton. 

“I had a similar training schedule to him and his wife,” Pentheny said of the decathlete. “I look up to him a lot for training, and he’s just an overall great person.” 

Eaton was a five-time NCAA champion at Oregon, and broke the world record in the decathlon at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track & Field. Eaton won gold at both the Olympic Games London 2012 and the Olympic Games Rio 2016. He is only the second American in history to win back-to-back gold medals in the decathlon. 

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“He’s probably been my biggest inspiration,” Pentheny said. “He’s defined as the world’s greatest athlete in the decathlon, so it’s awesome to train next to him and have him give me pointers.”

Pentheny says coming back for Season 2 has been even better than he expected because of his preparation. 

“I’ve been preparing day in and day out,” Pentheny said. “I’ve been really pushing myself, and understanding why I’m training. Sometimes that’s even three plus times a day.”

Not only has Pentheny had the opportunity to train alongside an Olympian, but on Nike’s campus as well. 

Pentheny worked as a legal assistant in design patents for several months at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon.

“They have some world-class facilities there,” Pentheny said. “It’s just an amazing place to train.”

As someone with a true passion for all aspects of the Olympic movement, being able to represent his country is Pentheny’s ultimate goal.

“To me, being an Olympian has always been the singles greatest honor for any athlete, to represent your country on the world stage.”

The winners will be revealed during a two-part docuseries airing Nov. 24 at 9 p.m. ET on NBCSN and Nov. 25 at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

“You just have to know who you’re representing,” Pentheny said. “You’re representing yourself, all the people you’ve ever known, all the people who have helped you get to where you are, and even people you’ve never met, to wear USA across your chest.”