Review Summary:  To say Bryan Clay was an angry troubled child would be an understatement. From elementary school he was a fighter and a rebel and not to give too much away, he was a rebel without a cause until his junior year of college. Throughout his story Bryan is honest about his faults, even after he decides to turns his heart to God. Although, at times the story gets into the mechanics of track and field and particularly the decathlon, however, Clay always brings the focus back to how God worked in his life.

This is an encouraging story God’s faithfulness, and I found myself more than once tearing up because of the different situations that Bryan shares about his experiences. My favorite line in this book is:
“…I do not expect you to be perfect. I just expect you to do your best. I’ll make it good enough.” 

Digging Deeper:  Having worked at Azusa Pacific for over 25 years I am familiar with Bryan Clay the athlete and was excited at the opportunity to review this book for Thomas Nelson. I haven’t willingly read many autobiographies and I was a little skeptical. This book was so much more than I expected and I’m really glad I made the choice to read this book.

As Bryan tells his story he not only tells the dark side of his life, but he shares about the people who have made an impact on his life. The people who loved him unconditionally but did not allow him to settle. Bryan’s story reminded me that we should not be afraid to invest in a child’s life, even those “problem” children. We never know what God’s plan is for that child.

This book does look in depth on the training and participation of the decathlon which if you’re not a fan those sections might get a little long. But even if you are not a fan you have to admire what these men do in preparation for this event and how grueling a competition is not only physically but mentally. I finished the book with a new respect for these athletes.

The greatest strength of this book is the honesty that Bryan shares. He didn’t commit his life to God one day and win a gold medal the next. He still faced adversity and struggled with doubts in himself and God. This book is not preachy, but Bryan shares his faith and his heart.

Give Away: I’m giving away my copy of this book. Leave a comment including the state you’re from to be entered. I’ll pick a winner next Sunday night, May 13 at 9:00PM PDT.


Here’s a picture I took of Bryan throwing the javelin at the Bryan Clay Invitational Track at Azusa Pacific University meet April 2012.  It was amazing to see the difference in his throws compared to those of collegiate athletes. Unfortunately, this was the only event he was in that I got to shoot.

7 Replies to “Redemption A Rebellious Spirit, A Praying Mother, and the Unlikely Path to Olympic Gold–Bryan Clay”

  1. It was really good to read your review about Bryan Clay’s new book. As a student at APU since 2008, I remember Mr. Clay coming to chapel to speak. I have always been in awe of him and how he overcame his struggles to become an Olympic medalist. I am definitely going to have to read this book now.

  2. Thanks for the review. The book really interests me, especially to see how people encouraging and believing in a troubled child can give him or her the strength needed to turn their lives around. God had a plan for Bryan and it’s exciting to watch that unfold.


  3. With as interesting as the review was, I’ll bet the book is a great one!

    Thanks for offering your book to one of us!

    Denise Jordan
    Montgomery, Texas

  4. I’d like to read about how he shares his faith and heart.
    Beth from Iowa.

Welcome! I appreciate your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.