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Olympian once was a rebellious teen

BEIJING (BP)–Bryan Clay, a decathlete whose competition starts Aug. 20 in Beijing, began his walk with Christ in college when he realized his life was heading in the wrong direction.

“I decided I needed to make a change and I turned to God,” Clay said on his website, bryanclay.com.

Clay, 28, grew up in Honolulu and became a household name in Hawaii after winning a silver medal at the 2004 Summer Games in Athens. The biography section of his website described him as a rebellious teenager who often found himself in trouble.

“Bryan credits two things with getting his life back on track: His success in sports that led him to college, and his belief and acceptance of the Christian faith,” the site says. “At [Azusa Pacific University in Southern California] Bryan really began to accept the Christian faith that his mother had been trying to instill in him for many years.

“No longer a troubled teen, he is now a devoted Christian that has an incomparable work ethic, a commitment to excellence, and an unwavering integrity.”

The decathlete established the Bryan Clay Foundation with the motto “Building Champions, Changing Lives” and a goal of providing lower-income Hawaiian students with academic and athletic scholarships for college. He also is part of Project Believe, which challenges athletes to undergo extensive drug testing.

“A huge reason why I haven’t been tempted to take drugs or do anything of that sort is because I realize that winning is not my life, it’s not my identity,” Clay told Christianity Today. “I know that God has me doing what I’m doing. I know that yes I can win. I also know that I’m not going to win all the time and I know that either way, win or lose, that God is going to provide for me.”

His website noted that at 5’10” and 183 pounds, Clay is by far the smallest athlete at the top level of the decathlon, where the average athletes are 6’3″ and 205 pounds. Even so, he excels in the events that require speed, such as the 100 meter, the long jump, the 400 meter and the 110 meter hurdles.

Clay and his wife Sarah have a son named Jacob.
Compiled by Baptist Press staff writer Erin Roach.

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