After taking home the gold at the Olympics in Beijing, decathlete Bryan Clay has been named USA Track & Field’s Athlete of the Week. Clay finished the two-day decathlon competition just 10 seconds shy of beating the Olympic record, but won by a 240-point margin–the largest since 1972.
Born in Texas to an African American father and a Japanese mother, he was raised in Hawaii and joined the track club as a child to channel his energy. Standing at a height of 5’11” he is considered small for a decathlete, but Clay proved he had the speed, strength, skill, stamina, endurance, and perseverance to win the 10-event competition and joins the league of great American decathletes like Jim Thorpe, Bill Toomey and Bruce Jenner.
Dubbed “Hawaii’s Hero” in the press and considered the “World’s Greatest Athlete,” Clay, who also won the silver at the 2004 Olympics in Athen, says “It’s been a little while since we had the Olympic gold medal in the decathlon brought back to the States. I’m happy with being the person to do it. I hope the Wheaties box and all those types of things happen. I’d love for that to happen. I’d love for this to be a spark for the decathlon and bring it back to the forefront of track and field.”
The married man and father of two credits Christianity as a strong force in his life and gives back to his community with the Bryan Clay Foundation. The mission of the foundation is to provide Hawaiian students in need with support to pursue college.