The Official Site of Bryan Clay


Fri, Aug 22nd 2008, 15:20

Clay, Jamaican team have nothing in common? Look at their paths

BEIJING — Two gold medals, two traditions, two nations, two celebrations.

And two illustrations of how the Olympics every now and then really can bring cultures together.

U.S. decathlete Bryan Clay and the Jamaican 4×100-meter relay team could not have won their events more differently.

The Jamaicans, led by the Beijing 2008 dry-land superhero Usain Bolt, were a golden flash around the National Stadium track, smashing the world record by three full tenths of a second to finish in 37.10 seconds. Afterward, they partied and shimmied — nothing new for Bolt, who’s made the Bird’s Nest his personal dance hall while setting world records and winning gold in the 100, 200 and now the relay. This was an exercise in dominance, and fun. Bolt laid yet another claim to the title, “World’s Fastest Human.”

Clay, exhausted, slogged to a dead-last finish in his last and least favorite decathlon event, the 1500 meters, in 5 minutes, 6.22 seconds. He helped up a fallen competitor, 2004 champion Roman Sebrle, and walked slowly around the finish area, shaking hands with the rest of the field one by one. This was an exercise in perseverance, and survival. Clay, who battled pounding rain, wicked heat, sleep deprivation and tense competition over two grueling days, earned his title, too — “World’s Greatest Athlete.”

Both celebrations felt right for the occasion.

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