Will Claye: More than a runner-up, by Stuart Weir


Claye_WillFL-WC17.JPGWill Claye, silver medalist, Triple Jump, photo by PhotoRun.net

Here's Stuart Weir's piece on Triple Jump silver medalist Will Claye. In their presser, Will Claye and Christian Taylor heaped praise on the old man of the TJ, Nelson Evora! I have an affection for the triple jump athletes and their desire to make the event more visible.

Will Claye more than a runner-up, by Stuart Weir

In the Men's Triple Jump final, Will Claye produced a great series of jumps 17.54, 17.52, 17.63, 17.49 and 17.53. It was enough to take the lead twice but in the end Christian Taylor won with 17.68. It reminded me of what Andre Agassi said about Roger Federer: "I pity the next generation. They won't win many grand slams while Federer is around".

Will Claye has won two Olympic silver medals, a world championship silver and two bronzes - all but one behind Christian Taylor. But just think what he would have won had Christian Taylor not existed. Claye did win gold in the world indoors in on 2012 with Taylor taking silver

Claye is also an accomplished long jumper, winning bronze at the 2012 Olympics (as well as silver in the triple jump). He has come second and third in the US championships in long jump.

Of his ability to be world class in both events, he says: "It is a blessing. A lot of people aren't able to do that but I have been blessed to be able to do both at an elite level and I am just going to take advantage of it".

However, it complicates training: "I have long jump day or a triple jump day at practice. It is completely different run up, approach, completely different drills. The technique is completely different for each one. You really have to be prepared for each one".

This week, after the final, Claye and Taylor talked about each other. Claye said:"I feel like it's been like this sinceI started triple jumping as a kid, when I would look at DyeStat and see Christian's name on the board, going out there every weekend. We were going back and forth back then. It continues until this day and I think we were put in this position for a reason, to push each other to break the world record. I feel like it'll come one day and it just comes down to executing and it being the right conditions and things like that. I appreciate Christian and definitely am going to work my butt off so that I don't lose ever again. It's that type of [sibling] rivalry. You don't want to lose to your brother but at the same time, you love him. No one likes to lose but I appreciate what I have been given, and not a lot of people can even say they made it to the finals so I appreciate taking second. But I'm always going to have that chip on my shoulder, and I'm always going to want to win. When I go back to work, I'm gonna have that on my mind."

Taylor, recalling that he has been competing against Claye since his freshman year, commented:" "He was at Oklahoma and I was at Florida. I thought I was the big dog on campus and we went to Texas A&M for the national championship. We went 1-2 there. I was like, 'this guy is going to make my life very difficult.' And from then, we've been battling in practice and from Daegu [2011 World Championship] to here, we've been battling on the biggest stage".

Taylor added that the competition would be boring with an opponent like Will Claye. And I think most of us feel that the event is the richer for the two of them and their rivalry.

As Will Claye's grandmother, brother and aunt all live in London he is really hlf British. That explains it all.

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