Redemption: A Rebellious Spirit, A Praying Mother, and the Unlikely Path to Olympic Gold -- by Bryan Clay with Joel Kilpatrick
What a lovely, uplifting, and satisfying book! This is one that would be okay for a beach read, a book club, an athlete, or a mom. Anybody really.
Bryan Clay is 2-time Olympian in the Decathlon. Winners of the Decathlon get bragging rights to World's Greatest Athlete. It is tough. Competitors fight through 10 events over 2 days: 100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400-meters, 110-meter hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw, and 1500 meters. It becomes a balancing act of speed and strength, conservation of energy, and endurance. Bryan Clay has both a silver and gold medal for what he has done.
His life was not always headed in that direction though. His childhood was not glowing, in fact with low grades, exposure to drugs, a dysfunctional family, and experiencing his parents divorce it is truly an inspiring story that leads Clay to a college education, happy married life, fatherhood, and world class athlete. One thing that never wavered was his mother's faith and her trust and belief that Clay had big things in store for his life... and he would win a gold medal.
I truly enjoyed reading this book. Clay and Kilpatrick moved smoothly over difficult life situations giving Clay's internal struggles and fears. And where he soars, that internal dialogue was just as important in getting to know who he is. The story becomes a page-turner as the reader becomes more invested in the life choices and career growth, anticipating how he would perform in competitions.
At the end of the book Clay is looking forward to the 2012 Olympic Trials. I had to do some searching and was disappointed to see that because of a very off day, Clay did not make the Olympic team. But two others he mentioned in his writing, Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee, were the ones I watched take the gold and silver for the United States. After what I had finished reading I was able to comprehend what it takes to compete in this outstanding event and truly acknowledge what these men have to go through.
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