Meeting family for the first time, celebrating your grandmother’s birthday in the country where your mother spent a good portion of her life, and participating in the Olympic Opening Ceremonies in London is one heck of a two-week run.
Even if Will Claye’s venture ended there it would be a terrific experience for any 21 year old.
By now most everyone knows that Claye, a December 2008 Mountain Pointe graduate, didn’t leave it at that.
Instead, he went out and did something no other American Olympian track athlete has done in 108 years.
Claye won the silver medal in Thursday’s triple jump competition at the Olympic Stadium in London to pair with the bronze in the long jump he won on Aug. 4.
The last American male to medal in both horizontal jumps in the Olympics was Myer Prinstein, who did it at the 1904 St. Louis Games.
Claye is the ninth athlete overall to accomplish the feat and the first since 1936 when Japan’s Naoto Tajima did it at the Berlin Olympics.
“I don’t think anybody here was around in that era,” Claye told the Arizona Republic. “It’s history. I hope I can encourage kids to do what I am doing now.”
He was a little more excited on Twitter: “This is unreal. God does some amazing things y’all fa-real lol. Thanks to all my fam n friends! Hope I can get back to everyone. Much love!!!”
Claye was in the spot for gold heading into the final round before former Florida teammate Christian Taylor produced the longest jump in the world this year at 58 feet and 5 1/4 inches to push Claye down to silver at 57-9 3/4.
It is the first time in 20 years that the U.S. was able to place two competitors on the podium since Michael Conley and Charlie Simpkins went 1-2 in Barcelona.
Mountain Pointe watched as Claye pulled off the amazing feat with TVs placed in the gym lobby and the physical education lecture hall.
“When the entire room (in the PE lecture hall) started clapping in unison and it led to a crescendo as he approached the board it sent chills down my spine,” Mountain Pointe athletic director Ian Moses said. “It was pretty surreal. It hasn’t set in yet, and I don’t know if it ever will.”
Claye, who graduated Mountain Pointe early in order to start his college career early with the idea of turning pro before the 2012 Olympics, did just about everything he set out to do during his time in London as he met aunt and uncles, the siblings of his mother Saffie Claye, for the first time and came home a double medalist.
Claye, who lives in San Diego, will return to the States soon and eventually return to Mountain Pointe, along with his coach Jeremy Fischer, to put on a clinic for area athletes in January.
“What an inspiration for today’s students,” Moses said. “I was standing there watching it happen with 14-year-old freshmen who don’t know who he is other than what they’ve read or heard, but they now understand that someone, who walked these halls just like them, can do amazing things.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.