Known in the 1990’s as “The World’s Greatest Athlete,” O’Brien was a track and field star at Idaho in 1989 when he earned All-America honors in the 55-meter hurdles with a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
O’Brien’s specialty was the multi-events, though. That same year, O’Brien scored a school- and Big Sky-record 7,988 points in the decathlon to earn both the Big Sky Track and Field Athlete of the Year honors. After leaving Idaho, O’Brien went on to be the world’s best decathlete for the next 10 years. He earned a record six No. 1 world rankings, three world decathlon championships, a 1996 Olympic gold medal and a spot in the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame. U of I has since named their track and field complex in his name.