Monday, December 24, 2012

Review of "Redemption - A Rebellious Spirit, A Praying Mother, and the Unlikely Path to Olympic Gold" by Bryan Clay with Joel Kilpatrick

Bryan Clay, writing in partnership with Joel Kilpatrick, invites the reader of his memoir to join him on a journey through life and through his career as the world's top decathlete.  The winner of Olympic Gold in the decathlon in Beijing in 2008, Clay's path to glory was not an easy one.  In this book, he recounts a rough beginning.  His parents' frequent fights and subsequent divorce made him a very hurt, angry and confrontational boy and young man.  Frequent school expulsions and fist fights had him walking pretty far down the path toward a life of delinquency and hopelessness.  Clay is generous in crediting the intervention of his praying mother, mentors, teachers, coaches, pastors and fellow athletes - each of whom played a role in helping him to see himself, his life and his future in a new light.

The story of his development as a man of faith and an athlete of distinction does not pull any punches.  He reveals his times of doubt, failure, hypocrisy, and selfishness that punctuated his path towards Olympic gold, and his  path to becoming a faithful husband and father.  For the most part, Clay and his co-author avoid many of the trite cliches and simplistic preachy tone that one often finds when athletes of faith tell their stories.  The tone is down to earth and very compelling.  I recommend the book to those wanting to be inspired by a journey of faith, as well as to those who study excellence in athletics and how it can be achieved.



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