Statement from Bryan Clay
Last Saturday afternoon, following the completion of the US Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon, I met one of my “deca heroes”, Rafer Johnson. If you follow the sport, you know that Rafer won the Silver medal in the decathlon in Melbourne in 1956, and the Gold in Rome in 1960. Rafer once stated that “The whole decathlon is ridiculous, but the 1,500 meters is insanity.” I must say that over the last 15 years I have come to love the ridiculousness that is the decathlon, and even the insanity that is the 1500 (though the 1500 has always been my bane). Frankly, it is difficult for me to imagine life without it.
For that reason, among others, I am torn by the post-US Olympic trials discussion regarding whether the USATF should allow me, or another athlete, to fill the final spot on the U.S. Decathlon Team by achieving the “A” standard prior to the July 8 International Olympic Committee (“IOC”) deadline for completion of the Olympic team roster.
Why am I torn? On one hand, my love of the sport compels me to defend my title. I would give almost anything to compete at the Olympics in London. I love the sport; I love my competitors; I love the competition. Further, I am grateful and humbled by the support of my family, friends, fans and sponsors, and, for their sake, as well as mine, I’d like to have one more go at it.
On the other hand, my love of the sport compels me to preserve its integrity. For this reason, and though it pains me, I believe that the USATF Committee’s decision to take only two decathletes to London is the right one. Ultimately, it is in the best interest of the sport to keep the integrity of the rules in place, and to support and uphold the decisions of the USATF Committee.
At this stage I am looking forward to attending the games in London as a supporter of the USOC, as an ambassador to my sponsors, and as a spectator. Let me assure you that I intend to be the loudest and most fervent supporter of both Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee. I expect a Gold and Silver medal, and perhaps another World Record.
The last few days have been quite emotional for me and I want to again thank my family, friends and sponsors for all their support. I hope to continue to make a positive impact on the sport that I love, both on and off the track, and am I excited for what the future holds.
2008 Olympic Gold Medalist