Series14 Oct 2013

Work, rest and play – Will Claye


USA's Will Claye in action in the triple jump at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow (© Getty Images)

In a new series of articles exclusive to the IAAF website, we talk to some of the world’s leading athletes on the three main aspects of their life: work, rest and play.

Reigning World indoor Triple Jump champion Will Claye plans to defend his title at the IAAF World Indoor Championships held in Sopot, Poland next March. We find out more about how the talented US jumper loves to relax and just why he loved training with Olympic Triple Jump champion Christian Taylor.


What are your three favourite things about being an athlete?

Will Claye: Number one is I get to travel the world. Secondly, we get to motivate people who weren’t given the same gifts that we (as athletes) have. Thirdly, training as an athlete makes us fit and healthy human beings.

What is your favourite training venue?

WC: Right here at the Olympic Training Centre in Chula Vista, California (his regular training base). It is right next to a lake and the place has a really nice atmosphere. It wouldn’t be the place to have a track meet, but to train it is perfect.

What is your least favourite thing about being an athlete?

WC: The diet. Sometimes because of the strict diet we don’t always get to eat what we would like. Our bodies are our business in track and field.

What is your favourite training session?

WC: The perfect training scenario for me would be to do shorter jumps (ie not off full distance) with Christian Taylor (the Olympic champion and Will's former training partner); those were the best days.  Those practise sessions made Christian and I what we are today. Another one would be the hill sessions my coach, Jeremy Fischer, sets. We run five or six times up an 80m to 90m hill. I'm so tired after the sessions we have to drive a cart to get back to our cars.

Do you have a favourite training partner?

WC: My favourite would be a guy called Shardae Boutte (16.76m triple jumper). I trained with him during my freshman and sophomore year at the University of Oklahoma. I went there because of him and training with him helped me mentally. He was a really funny guy; a good guy to train with.


Do you have a favourite place to chill and relax?

WC: On my couch watching (American) football on a Sunday. Now I’ve moved and live in San Diego, I also go to the beach to chill out

What is your favourite movie?

WC: Friday. I could laugh at that movie over and over.

If there is one athlete in the world you would choose to relax with, who would it be and why?

WC: It would be Queen Harrison, because she’s special.

What is your perfect non-training day?

WC: I don't get a lot of downtime from track, but I'd like to design some clothes and build my clothing line brand. I would also like to eat in a good restaurant.

What is your favourite music to chill to?

WC: Anything by Lauryn Hill, Bob Marley and Amy Winehouse. Their music is really smooth and their lyrics are really uplifting.

What is your favourite stress reliever?

WC: Sleep is the one thing that relieves me of stress. If I’m sleeping a lot, I'm not stressed out. Anyone who knows me knows I love to sleep. I'm like a hibernating bear.


How did your passion for American football start?

WC: Probably in the third or fourth grade. My oldest brother played football. He would leave his pads in the garage and I would sneak in there and put on his pads, even though they were way too big for me and sweaty from him playing. I would also go to my room, bundle up lots of shirts and stick them up my shirt like an American footballer. I then used to run through the house at full speed and tackle my brothers.

Did you play American football and, if so, what standard did you reach?

WC: I started out playing running back and as I got older I moved to quarterback. I used to get compared with Michael Vick (the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback) when I was younger. I later switched from quarterback to wide receiver. I got an offer from one college to play football. I was pretty good, but I was too small at just 135lbs. If I'd taken a hit, it would have been all over.

How did playing American football help your athletics career?

WC: It made me tougher. Football is different to track in that there is more of a team aspect. Everyone had their own positions and we all had to play our part for the team.

Do you play the game today for fun?

WC: All the time. Whenever I'm in a yard, I want to throw a football around.

If you could pick any person from the sport of athletics who would make the perfect American footballer, who would it be and why?

WC: It would be Ryan Bailey (the 2012 Olympic 100m fifth-place finisher from the USA) because that boy is huge and fast.

Who was your American football hero growing up as a kid?

WC: Deion Sanders. Everything he did was different and that set him apart from the rest. He used to wear a bandana and those long sleeved loose shirts he use to wear were the just the best. I definitely loved watching him.

Steve Landells for the IAAF

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