Bryan Clay will compete in the AT&T USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships today.
Clay can't wait to compete
Castle High graduate Bryan Clay hopes everything goes his way at USA championships
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Castle High graduate Bryan Clay has all sorts of reasons to stay away from the AT&T USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Indianapolis this week.
» He had a daughter born just last month.
» He is a defending world champion and can make his own schedule.
» He is fighting through an elbow injury that hurts him when he throws the javelin.
» He finished a disappointing third in a meet just three weeks ago in Austria.
But Clay is drawn to the big events and couldn't pass up the chance to compete on his home soil against the best the U.S. has to offer like Tom Pappas and Paul Terek.
Clay answered a number of questions during a teleconference Monday.
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Castle High graduate Bryan Clay will be competing at the AT&T USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Indianapolis, which began today and runs through Sunday.
The two-time national champion and the world's top-ranked decathlete answered some questions on Monday in a teleconference co-hosted by USA Track and Field and the U.S. Olympic Committee:
Q: Tell us about how you feel coming into the meet.
Clay: I think my fitness is good, training is going well. I had a great meet three weeks ago in Austria, at Gotzis. It didn't turn out (a third-place finish with 8,493 points) exactly as I wanted to. I had a small nick out there, but the other events went as I thought they would.
Q: What happened there?
A: Going into Gotzis, I really hadn't competed much. I'd thrown the discus in competition once before that. We did that because the World Championships are so late we didn't want to start firing on all cylinders too early. Things were still a little rusty. I went out to the discus, one of my stronger events where I guess I didn't have enough concentration. The disc ended out of the sector on two throws, about 52 meters out, but I ended up with a 36-meter throw, which was my first throw. It was a little bit of bad luck.
Q: We hear you've just had another child.
A: We just had a baby girl on May 14. She's a little over a month now. Her name is Katherine Joy Clay. We've been having a blast with our daughter and our son (Jacob Ezra, born July 1, 2005). I was always one of those guys that wanted a lot of kids, four or five. We love every second of it, but to be fair to the kids, we'll probably wait a little while and let them get more established with mom and dad. Instead of two years before the next one, it will probably be about three or four years.
Q: What are you doing to avoid a similar problem as last year at nationals (where entering the meet after illness, he withdrew during the competition with low blood sugar)?
A: Of course I am bringing a doctor with me this time. We've gotten a little smarter this year, adding a little more rest (between Gotzis and USA Outdoors). This year, God willing, I won't get sick before I come up and won't have to deal with the weather conditions as much, other than the two days I'm competing. I'm going to eat a little more and drink a little more coming into the meet. (In 2006) I knew right after the 100 meters that something was wrong. I told my coaches my body doesn't feel right. We tried to push through it, but sometimes those things happen.
Q: Since you are the defending world champion, you wouldn't be obliged to compete in a full decathlon here in Indy. (Defending world champions can choose to compete in any event at USA Outdoors.) Did you give any thought about not to compete at nationals?
A: With the experience that I had last year at Indy, I was a little worried about having to compete there this year, but the decathlon is a very different event, and in order to get an IAAF world ranking, you have to compete in a minimum of three events per year. To get the ranking, I would almost have to do the U.S. Championships to get three meets. I had other options but they all required me to travel overseas. It's always better to do a decathlon in your back yard than to travel 10 hours. For my body's sake and the mental side of things, we decided to do the U.S. Championships.
Q: What have you been doing in training the last few days? Are you afraid of any mental effects heading into the discus?
A: There's always mental awareness of what the last competition went like. But we do this for a living, and it's not the first time I've had events go bad in the decathlon. All decathletes have these times where events don't go as you'd like to. It was just a little bit of a technical thing.
Q: You're relatively small, but you're one of the greatest throwers in the decathlon.
A: I've always said I've got a very, very good throws coach, and I'm probably stronger than most of the other guys. I need to make up for what I'm lacking in size against those guys with strength. I've got a very specific weight program that my throws coach has me on. We take a lot of throws in training. Not necessarily hard throws -- light shot practices and 75-80 percent throws in the javelin. We try to do a lot of reps and do as much as we can in the weight room to make sure I am ready to go. When you have a guy like me who is a little more explosive, if you can master those (throws) events, it's nothing but good for you to be explosive. It's not necessarily size that matters, it's how fast you move that implement.
Q: Who do you expect to do well this weekend?
A: I always expect everybody to do well. I don't want to count anybody out. Tom (Pappas) has got a PB of 8,700 and change, he's a (2003) world champion, you can't count the guy out. I know he's had injuries and things haven't been going well for him the last few years. You can't count out Paul Terek. He's a good competitor. The person who wins is going to be the person who makes the least amount of mistakes. Hopefully that's going to be me.
Q: You mentioned you're having some problems with your knee and elbow?
A: We're not sure what's going on with the (left) knee. It might be a bone bruise or some meniscus. I felt it going into Gotzis, and I had a great meet there. It hurts and I've got to just suck it up. My (right, throwing) elbow I injured a little bit at Gotzis in the jav. It only bothers me in the jav. I'm not going out to try to throw world records in my events, I just want a very solid competition."