Olympic gold medalist makes time for Kaua‘i’s kids

Dr. David Rovinsky, co-chair of the Speed Training with Bryan Clay event, was obviously pleased with yesterday’s outcome.

“This is tremendous,” Rovinsky said while watching more than 250 young athletes work through exercises with Bryan Clay, 2008 Olympic Games gold medalist, and a group from the University of Hawai‘i track and field team.

“They had a clinic like this Saturday at the University of Hawai‘i and had about 200 kids. For a small island like Kaua‘i to have this many young people is a tremendous show of community support for Clay,” he said.

Brooke Johnson, the community relations officer at Wilcox Health, said they had to cut off registration for the sports clinic about a month ago because about 300 people signed up when they heard about it.

As the clinic got under way, more young people filtered through the gates, overflowing from the Kaua‘i Soccer Association games taking place across the parking lot.

Among the Hawai‘i track and field team members, Jamilee Jimenez, a former track and field standout at Kaua‘i High School, found time to chat with her track coach and former classmates.

The free Speed Training Clinic sponsored by Wilcox Health, an affiliate of Hawai‘i Pacific Health, and the physicians of the Bone & Joint Center at the Kaua‘i Medical Clinic collaborated with Hawai‘i Optimum Performance and the University of Hawai‘i to offer the clinic for Kaua‘i’s young athletes.

Clay won the gold medal in the decathalon at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Prior to that two-day event, he won the silver medal at the 2004 Olympics and finished first at the 2005 World Championships.

He has established the Bryan Clay Foundation, whose mission is to provide Hawai‘i’s students in need with support to pursue college through academic and athletic scholarships. The foundation also awards high school physical education departments with equipment and monies for facilities improvements.

Clay was joined by his coach Rana Reider and Kevin Chang in leading exercises and discussions to teach the young athletes proper running mechanics, strength training, sports nutrition and periodization techniques.

“You can’t get things like this just anywhere,” said Wayne Fujimoto, whose daughter Amber is a Waimea High School soccer hopeful and participating in the clinic. “And the best part is that it’s free.”

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