U.S. Olympic track and field
Castle High alumnus Bryan Clay, center, placed third in the decathlon 110 hurdles yesterday. He won the decathlon with a personal-best score and Olympic trials record of 8,832.
Decathlon goes to Clay
Hawaii's silver-medal winner in Athens four years ago qualifies for Beijing
EUGENE, Ore. » Bryan Clay announced on Sunday he was physically ready to break some records. Yesterday, that's exactly what he did.
U.S. decathlon Olympic qualifiers
At Olympic track and field trials in Eugene, Ore.
1. Bryan Clay, Nike, 8,832 points.
2. Trey Hardee, Nike, 8,534.
2. Tom Pappas, Nike, 8,511.
Bryan Clay, event by event
How the Castle alum performed in the yesterday's final five events
||16 feet, 43/4 inches
||Tied for 4th
||231 feet, 5 inches
Clay recorded 8,832 points to win the U.S. Olympic track and field trials and set the trials and Hayward Field record.
Clay's mark, the best by an American in 16 years, was only 60 shy of breaking the American mark as well.
"I made a decision last night that I was going to make this meet happen," said Clay, who was in first place after Day 1 with 4,476 points, a lead he never relinquished. "It wasn't something that I thought was going to be easy, but I was going to make it happen no matter what."
The 2004 silver medalist made his second Olympics team and won his third U.S. championship.
The Azusa Pacific and Castle High alum will be joined in Beijing by Tom Pappas and Trey Hardee.
Pappas, the 2003 world champion finished third with 8,511 points. Hardee was second with 8,534 points.
"This is one of the strongest teams we've put together," Clay said. "This is a solid team. We could go in there, and if everybody keeps improving ... and if we can just fine-tune things and go to Beijing and really put our best foot forward, I think it's very, very possible that we could come home with a sweep. That's never been done before."
Clay led Pappas by 302 points going into the final event -- the 1,500 meters -- with 8,219 and he knew the American record of 8,891 was in reach.
But he finished in 4:50.97 and in 13th place overall, good for just 613 points.
"I was trying to get it man, I was trying to," Clay said. "I was on pace through 1,100 meters, and I tried to get it going, but I just had nothing left in my legs. I think by the Games I'm going to run in the low 4:40s and be ready to go after some records. That's the goal, that's the plan. This is the fastest I've run the 1,500 in four years, probably since the Games in Athens."
Hawaii's Bryan Clay flew over the bar during yesterday's pole vault event en route to winning the decathlon in record-breaking style at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore. Clay is bound for the Summer Olympic Games next month in Beijing.
Clay started the day with a third-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13.75 seconds. He then went on to win the discus with a throw of 173 feet. He also won the javelin at 231-5 and finished fourth in the pole vault at 16-4 3/4 .
Castle High alumnus Bryan Clay, right, placed third in the decathlon 110 hurdles yesterday. He won the decathlon with a personal-best score and Olympic trials record of 8,832.
It was a strong finish for Clay, who said he was pleased with the way he rebounded from a tough start on Sunday when he had disappointing performances in the long jump and shot put.
"I think this is one of the toughest decathlons I've had to deal with," Clay said. "I was caught so off guard at the beginning of the decathlon. Mentally, I really had to get on myself and be disciplined enough to come back and make the adjustments and make things happen.
Bryan Clay took aim before his javelin throw yesterday.
"A lot of times in the decathlon, when you try harder, you do worse. So it was a very fine line between coming out this morning and saying, OK, I'm going to get it done today, but I'm going to try too hard and mess everything up."
Instead, he viewed his record-setting day as something to build on as he prepares for Beijing.
"Training is going really well. Really, really well," Clay said. "Give me eight weeks until the Games and I think I'll be ready to go."