Track & Field
Bryan Ezra Tsumoru Clay – often referred to as the “World’s Greatest Athlete” – was born to a Japanese mother (Michele Ishimoto) and African American father (Greg Clay) and raised in Hawaii. He won the silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and went on to win the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Bryan is among the very few decathletes to hold two Olympic medals.
Bryan had his eyes set on a third. He had hoped to become the only decathlete to win three Olympic medals. Bryan Clay – the reigning Olympic decathlon gold medalist – was eliminated from the London Games after stumbling in the 110-meter hurdles at the U.S. track trials on Saturday, June 23, 2012.
To see him in action, check out this Olympic highlights video of Bryan Clay.
The first Blasian American Olympian was Peter Westbrook. The child of an African American father (Ulysses) and a Japanese mother (Mariko), Peter was harassed by other children because of his mixed race. His mother paid him $5 to attend local fencing classes. She wanted to divert his attention to a sport that was similar to the style of Samurai fighting that she was familiar with in Japan.
Peter Westbrook was a member of six American Olympic teams – 1976 in Montreal, 1980 (US boycott of Moscow games), 1984 in Los Angeles, 1988 in Seoul, 1992 in Barcelona, and 1996 in Atlanta. He won the bronze medal in Individual Sabre at the 1984 Olympics. In 1992, he was selected to serve as flag bearer for the closing ceremonies, an honor conferred by a vote of that year’s Olympians. He was the oldest member of the fencing team at the 1996 Olympics.
One of the first prominent biracial fencers and the first African American to medal in fencing, Peter began the Peter Westbrook Foundation in 1991. The Foundation provides inner city children with access to fencing and works to guide them away from gang activity. It is hailed as one of the most successful inner city sports programs in the country.
To learn about Peter Westbrook and his not-for-profit organization, visit www.PeterWestbrook.org.
Sunday, July 29, 2012