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Bryan Clay, a former Hawaii high-school track star, will be in Beijing for the 2008 Olympics. He almost didn’t get past high school. One of his teachers characterizes him as having been, as a kid, arrogant and defiant, a handful and a rascal… as well as talented. He could have been a good criminal, the teacher points out.
Now, Clay – at 28 — will be competing in his second Olympic decathlon. He won the silver medal in 2004 and hopes for the gold this year after winning the U.S. trials with the best decathlon score by an American in 16 years, and the best in the world in four years. After his struggles with the academics and disciplines of his youth, he remembers gratefully that teacher pushing him ‑ even giving him an “F” in phys ed — to channel his energies properly. Today, Clay is deeply religious, devoted to his wife and their two young children, and a supremely disciplined athlete. That discipline is essential in his event – a series of ten grueling tests of an athlete’s skills and endurance.
Hawaii will be watching his progress anxiously come August.