Thursday, July 12, 2012

Olympic Victory

decathlon - noun, An athletic event taking place over two days, in which each competitor takes part in the same prescribed ten events (100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400-meter dash, 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, and 1,500-meter run)

Decathletes stress their bodies often just short of their breaking points. Just to finish the decathlon is a feat to be lauded, and it is the only event in which all finishers take a victory lap together. Decathletes face frequent heartache. Training for the decathlon is arguably the most demanding of any sport. And in competition, there are so many variables involved in the ten different events that make it somewhat common for superstars to have poor outcomes.

 Defending Olympic Champion Bryan Clay missed his opportunity to compete in the 2012 London Games after failing in the 110 meter hurdles race at the 2012 Olympic Trials. Although this failing performance surely brought tremendous heartache, more importantly Bryan is a winner at life.

In his memoir, Redemption: A Rebellious Spirit, A Praying Mother, and the Unlikely Path to Olympic Gold, with Joel Kilpatrick, Bryan tells of his tumultuous upbringing wrought with pain, strife, and poor choices. Along the way, Bryan is exposed to God’s truth and to mentors that point him to success. However, it isn’t until Bryan is a few years into college that he decides to clean up his life style and pursue excellence in all areas of his life by putting God first. This book had me cheering for Bryan as he trained, competed, and fell in love. I’ve been a long time track and field fan, but I learned a lot about the decathlon and Bryan’s career that culminated in his victory at the 2008 Olympic Games. This is a great read in anticipation of the 2012 London Games.

I received a free copy of this book as part of my participation in Thomas Nelson Publishers program.

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