Hawaii will be cheering for Bryan Clay in 2008 Olympics
Hawaii's Bryan Clay, a silver medalist in the decathlon at the 2004 Summer Olympics, is favored to win the gold at Beijing.
ALL eyes will be focused during the final week of the 2008 Summer Olympics on the amazing Castle High School product
favored to win the decathlon. As expected, Bryan Clay won the event in the U.S. Olympic trials in Oregon this week and says he is "ready to break the world record" and take the gold medal at Beijing. Hawaii will be cheering him on.
Clay, a 1998 Castle graduate, won the silver at Athens four years ago after being seen as an underdog, even after winning the Olympic trials over the favored Tom Pappas, who will be on the team again this time after finishing third in the trials. Clay is 5-foot-11 and weighs 183 pounds, compared to the average among top-ranked decathletes of 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds.
At Eugene, Ore., Clay compiled a career-best 8,832 points, a record for the U.S. Olympic trials, nearly 300 points more than runner-up Trey Hardee of Austin, Texas, and only 60 short of the 16-year-old American record. The victory was Clay's third U.S. championship.
Born in Texas, Clay was 3 years old when his family moved to Hawaii, which he still calls home although he spends most of his days training at Azusa Pacific University, the small school he attended in Southern California that is known for breeding decathletes. He plans to spend most of the autumn in Hawaii after competing Aug. 21-22 in Beijing.
Clay, 28, credits Hawaii for his being "very laid back," a self-description that seems to belie his grueling pace at track and field. Actually, he said Monday after his victory, "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 not going to try too hard and mess everything up."
Clay has given much of the credit for his success to Castle High Coach Martin Hee, who steered him toward the decathlon, and Colin Awa, a sixth-grade teacher who jolted him with an "F" for neglecting to fulfill written requirements and tests on sports. Clay had assumed his physical gifts would carry him.
Awa is the kind of person who is "able to grab your hand and pull you back into life and reality," Clay said. "It just taught me life lessons and made me who I am today."