As the world counts down to this summer’s Olympic Games in London, the reigning world’s greatest athlete, by becoming the first decathlete to win three consecutive Olympic medals in the grueling 10 events.
But first, the Olympic gold medalist will have to make the team.
The 32-year-old Glendora resident competes today in the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. in the first full day of the decathlon.
On the first day of the two-day event, Clay competes in the 100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400-meter run. On Saturday, Clay competes in the 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500-meter run.
“For me, as we’re heading into the Olympics, of course my goals are to win another medal,” Clay said in an interview in November 2011. “And if I can win another medal that would make me the only person in history to win three medals in the decathlon.”
But it won’t be easy.
While Clay has been one of the top decathletes in the world since winning silver in Athens in 2004, injuries have hampered Clay’s performance in recent years. During his absence from premier meets, younger, up-and-coming athletes, such as reigning U.S. Champion Trey Hardee and current world silver medalist Ashton Eaton, have asserted themselves as major contenders for gold in London.
The top three finishers in the trials will gain berths to the Olympics, prompting the possibility of a U.S. sweep in the decathlon.
While Clay concedes that Hardee and Eaton are the future of the sport, Clay is ready to reassert his dominance that began 12 years ago.
A medal of any color will catapult him into the Olympic history books.
But as the reigning Olympic gold medalist, Clay has one medal in mind.
“I think any Olympic athlete will tell you they’re going for gold,” said Clay.
NBC and NBCSN will be airing coverage of the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials until July 1.