DES MOINES, Iowa--The decathlon competition at the 103rd Drake Relays gets underway Wednesday, along with the heptathlon, and will feature 2008 Olympic gold medalist Bryan Clay and 2010 Drake Relays champion Jake Arnold. The heptathlon begins at noon at Drake Stadium and the decathlon starts at 12:30 p.m. The decathlon continues Thursday at 9:30 a.m., while the heptathlon resumes at 10:30.
Clay, from Glendora, Calif., took home the gold medal from Beijing with a score of 8,791. That mark was the fourth-highest in Olympic history and 240 points ahead of silver medalist Andrei Krauchanka of Belarus, which was the largest winning margin at the Olympics since 1972.
Clay won the Olympic silver medal in 2004 in Athens (8,820). His personal best of 8,832 came in 2008 at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., and was the highest score by an American in the decathlon in 16 years.
The 32-year-old Clay also won the decathlon at the 2005 world championships with a score of 8,732. He was the 2008 Jesse Owens Award Winner and was named the 2011 Visa Humanitarian of the Year. Clay has ranked No. 1 in the world twice (2005, '08) and No. 1 in the USA four times (2004, '05, '07 and '08).
Arnold set the Drake Stadium decathlon record of 8,215 in 2010 in claiming the title at the U.S.A. outdoor championships in Des Moines. He had finished third in the event at the 2006 (7,827) and '07 (7,921) U.S.A. outdoors, and won NCAA titles in the same years. Arnold is only the second athlete to claim back-to-back NCAA decathlon titles.
In 2010 Arnold also established his personal best of 8,253. He was ranked in the top four in the U.S. four consecutive year, from 2007-10, and finished fourth at the 2008 Olympic Trials.
The heptathlon and decathlon mark the beginning of Drake Relays competition in the stadium. Field events for the Drake Relays begin at 3 p.m. Thursday with the high school boys' discus, while the Distance Carnival afternoon session begins at 4 p.m. with the women's university/college unseeded 800-meter run.
Tickets for the 2012 Drake Relays April 25-28 are on sale now, and may be purchased online through the official Drake Athletics website (www.GoDrakeBulldogs.com) or by calling (515) 271-DOGS (3647).