What About the Sport? This Does Not Have to Be the End for Bryan Clay
By Weldon Johnson, LetsRun.com
June 23, 2012
The big news earlier today was that reigning Olympic champion Bryan Clay was disqualified in the 110m hurdles and ruining any chances for hitting the Olympic "A" qualifying standard in the decathlon.
Many are saying that this is the end of Bryan's chance to defend his Olympic decathlon title.
However, it does not have to be.
USATF has an arbitrary rule that all athletes must have achieved the Olympic "A" qualifying standard by the end of their event at the Olympic Trials. The rule is designed so the Olympic Trials have more finality. We support the intent of the rule.
However in this case, the rule should be ignored. Only two Americans Trey Hardee and Ashton Eaton have the "A" standard. Thus unless another American gets the "A" standard in the remaining events today, America will only send two athletes to the Olympics.
The official international qualifying window for the Olympics closes July 8th.
So here's what should happen. Next week, in the off days of the Trials on Tuesday and Wednesday, someone (LetsRun.com?) should hold a decathlon in Eugene for Bryan Clay and whoever else wants to show up. If the meet can't be held at Hayward Field, we can go to the local high school here which has a nice track. Thousands of fans can show up and cheer Clay and whoever else shows up. It will be track and field at its purest. If more than one athlete hits the "A" then the athlete who finished higher at the Trials should be selected for London.
Today does not have to be the end for Bryan Clay. I just spoke to Dan O'Brien, the American record holder in the decathlon. I asked him about trying to qualify next week and he supported the idea. I then asked him why Clay was still competing today (he's still competing even after fouling three times in the discus). Dan speculated that Clay could possibly be still competing because he might retire at the end of the meet and wants to finish his final decathlon.
I think a decathlon next week is a better idea.
Editor's note: There is precedent for countries changing their qualifying window due to public pressure. It just happened in Australia with steeplechaser Genevieve LaCaze.
Please help spread the word. We think this would be an amazing event.
Comments? Questions? Email us or call LetsRun.com at 607-330-4786.