RBR Talks Track with..Bryan Clay, by Larry Eder


Bryan Clay was the 2004 Olympic Bronze medalist, the 2005 World Champion at the decathlon and the 2008 Olympic gold medalist at the decathlon. He was featured in Nike media day for their Nike Training launch. RBR was able to get Bryan on the phone for fifteen minutes, here is what we spoke about:

photo by PhotoRun.net

RBR: So what are you doing today?

Bryan: We are doing a media day for the Nike Trainer One. Nike is taking it back to the Bo Jackson days, when athletes had input into shoes. Cross Training gives the athete a trainer that can handle a lot of different things.


Bryan Clay in the 110m hurdles, from Beijing.

RBR: PE has pretty well gone away, why is it important for athletes to cross or alternative train?

It is important for coaches to know that sports should be and can be fun. Kids should be having fun. When I was younger I did not do a specific sport. Kids need to be very well rounded. You are not born a football player. You should still be able to do other things. That gets you one up on the next person.

RBR: What kind of activities are ideal, in your mind, for the young athlete?

Bryan: Easy things, play basketball, play baseball, play soccer, swimming, various track events. That is what you should do when you are growing up. When I was growing up in Hawaii, I was surfing, body boarding, running, jumping. I did a little bit of everything. This allowed me to be well rounded. Doing sports is fun.


Bryan Clay, letting the discus fly, from Beijing.

RBR: How is your training going?

Bryan: My training is going well. It was tough getting back into the swing of things. It has been a ten year push for the gold medal. After Beijing, I took some time off. I was not ready to get back into training. It was such a hard place to get to, preparing myself for the Games, it took me to hell and back. Finally, I got the hunger again..I will be training for the next four years, I mean two and one half--I would like to take a shot at the American Record, and the World record. Plus there is a record I really want--there has never been a decathlete to win medals at three consecutive Olympic decathlons.


Nike Trainer 1...

RBR: What is your Decathlon schedule?

Bryan: I have a meet on June 11 in Toronto, then the US nationals, then Berlin. After Berlin, probably Talence. I will start training early for next year. I want to train for the world indoors, as I am real close, and there is a possibility for the world indoor record. I want to be fit and ready to attack the outdoor season, and be ready for Gotzis.


Bryan Clay in the high jump, Beijing.

RBR: How long did it take you to recover from Beijing?

Bryan: A good five months. The mental focus was the hardest. There was a sense of relief that the event was finally done. After that, there was the reshitting of mental status. I can not do it just for the money, just because the coaches want me to do it, there has to be a reason.

RBR: What is that reason, what is that hunger?

Bryan: I want to make things happen in the decathlon. I want to cement myself further in the record books, and I want to remembered as one of the greatest decathlon stars.

RBR: Who are your favorite decathletes? Who are the guys you use as role models?

Bryan: In the history of the decathlon, I look to Rafer Johnson. He was just an all around classy guy. Everytime I have been around him, you can tell. He has character. He competed with his own training partner! He carries himself well. I appreciate Dan O'Brien. I chat with him a lot. He is very, very supportive. Dave Johnson, I love the ways he trained and his attitude. He always has a smile on his face (very positive). What Iearnt from all of them is that you have to be a champion in life before you can be a champion decathlete. One must give back to the community, one must have priorities. I am writing a book about what I have learnt in my training for the decathlon.


Pole vault, Beijing...

RBR: Do you think the word Olympian has a special meaning?

Bryan; I do not know. The view has surely changed, with the NBA champs, World Series. We have championships that other countries do not have. Maybe their view is different than the view we have. I think we have lost some of pride and respect for the word, Olympian.

RBR: How important is Berlin (the World Championships) for you?

Bryan: Berlin is important for me to go out and reaffirm that I am the one to beat. I am thinking of 2012. i have to stay healthy for 2012. Berlin is just one step.

RBR: What kind of kid should go into the decathlon?

Bryan: Every kid should do the decathlon! If there is a kid who wants to test just how good of athlete that they really are, really want to test their mental capabilities, hand-eye coordination, your athleticisim and your power and strength-then try the decathlon. If you want to test how mentally tough you are, and just how much you got in the tank, a kid who is looking for a real challenge should try the decathlon.


How is this for rain?

Bryan: If your readers want to follow me, I am on Facebook and twitter. I updated twitter nearly every day!


Clay in front of the man whose record he wants: Roman Sebrle.

Beijing photos courtesy of PhotoRun.net. Nike Training 1 courtesy of Nike communications. Photo Production special thanks to Chuck Bartlett.

Special thanks to Nike Communications and Bryan Clay, who gave us fifteen minutes as he juggled interviews on the Nike Training Media Summit.

To reach RBR, email [email protected] or just follow us on twitter!

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