This is the story of the most unlikely Olympic decathlete in history. Despite size and stature, Bryan Clay is the defending champion of the 2008 Olympic gold medal and winner of the 2004 Olympic silver medal in the decathlon. His journey is as inspiring as it is gritty, as troubled as it is triumphant.
Far more than just a sports memoir, Redemption details the drudgery, devastation, and ultimate conversion that led Bryan to become a world champion. “[God] had a plan when I believed that dreams never came true because, in my life, they never did,” says Bryan. Through a remarkable series of events and devoted prayers of his mother, Bryan’s life was turned around into a victorious narrative of truly being redeemed.
St. Paul used athletics, specifically a running race, as a metaphor for the spiritual life. Clay, winner of the 2008 Olympic gold medal in the decathlon, would feel very comfortable with Paul's comparison. A mixed-race (African-American and Japanese) kid growing up in Hawaii, whose dysfunctional parents split up when he was young, Clay explains how he grew from an angry troublemaker into a staunch religious believer whose Christian faith guided him across the finish line. Before he was able to channel his rage and aggression into a positive direction, the author was constantly getting into trouble when he was young. His mother, who had become a Christian, prayed, like Augustine's mother, Monica, for her son to open his heart to God. Finding religion did not mean an end to life's obstacles, however, and Clay faces more than his share on the way to becoming the "world's greatest athlete." The author's testimony about being "chosen" by God to achieve may be, at best, na ve theology and often comes across as egotistical. Clay is undoubtedly a contender in the 2012 Olympics, however, and his inspiring story is likely to win him some fans.