Thursday, August 11, 2005


Bryan Clay displayed his decathlon gold medal at the world track and field championships yesterday. He was flanked by silver medalist Roman Sebrle, left, and bronze medalist Attila Zsivoczky.

Clay wins
world title

The Castle alum is the "world's
greatest athlete" after taking
gold in the decathlon

HELSINKI, Finland » Bryan Clay looks too small to be the "world's greatest athlete." Tianna Madison seems too young to be a world champion.

Both Americans were triumphant, though, on a cold, wet and windy Wednesday night at the world track and field championships.

Clay, at 5-foot-11 dwarfed by his mammoth opponents, defeated Olympic champion and world record holder Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic, 8,732 points to 8,521, to win the gold medal in the decathlon, 10 events completed in awful weather over two days.

Madison, a 19-year-old junior-to-be at Tennessee, soared to a personal-best 22-7 1/4 on her next-to-last attempt to win the women's long jump. Olympic bronze medalist Tatyana Kotova was second at 22-3 1/2. Eunice Barber of France, heptathlon silver medalist in Helsinki, was third with a wind-aided 22-2 1/4.

Bryan Clay wore the Stars and Stripes yesterday after winning the decathlon at the world track championships.

The two victories, and Sanya Richards' second-place finish in the 400 meters, gave the United States nine medals through five days of competition -- six gold and three silver.

Clay, Olympic silver medalist in Athens, kept the world decathlon title in American hands, replacing Tom Pappas, who won it in Paris in 2003 and is injured this year.

"Bryan is truly a special athlete," fellow U.S. decathlete Phil McMullen said. "He's short, composed, with extreme explosiveness, and with extreme intelligence to really grasp all the events -- in heated competitions."

For Clay, though, the victory was not his biggest event of the summer. He was there for the birth of his son, Jacob, on July 1.

"I helped deliver the baby and everything. That was probably the most exciting moment of my life," Clay said. "This is a somewhat close second."

Training at his alma mater, tiny Azusa Pacific near Los Angeles, the Castle graduate hasn't received the worldwide attention afforded Pappas and Sebrle, but that should change with his victory.

"I know that it doesn't sound like it, I really don't mind not having the recognition," he said. "I'm kind of one of those guys that likes to come out, do my job, go home and be with my family. I can't tell you how much I want to just pack everything up and go home and be with them."

Born in Texas and raised in Hawaii, with a Japanese mother and African-American father, Clay credits his success to intense training under a team of coaches headed by Azusa Pacific men's coach Kevin Reid.

"I've been dreaming about this since I was a little kid, since I was 8 years old. So I'm just glad that dreams are finally starting to come true," he said.

World Track & Field Championships

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