US Olympic Track Team 2012: 10 Things You Need to Know About Trey Hardee
Trey Hardee is arguably the best athlete in the world. Competing in the decathlon, which he calls the purest form of competition, he looks to bring home a gold medal for the U.S. at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
The decathlon is 10 events over two days and can leave competitors exhausted for weeks after the last event. It is the most challenging and demanding of any event at the Olympics, and Hardee will look to dominate it during the London Games.
This is the second Olympic Games Hardee has been a part of as he participated in Beijing and shockingly finished in fourth, just outside of the medals. However, he is back with a vengeance and looks to claim a gold medal.
Before Hardee begins his quest for gold in London, these are 10 things you should know about the world's greatest athlete.
He Originally Wanted to Be a Basketball Player
Standing at 6'5", Trey Hardee has a body that could be used for just about any sport other than gymnastics or horseback riding.
His first love was basketball, and he originally wanted to be a college basketball player. However, he was cut from his high school team as a junior and ended up switching to track and field.
Ironically, he has said that he also lacked focus as a pole vaulter in high school and didn't want to warm up. However, his path has brought him to his second Olympic Games, and that path could soon finish with him winning an Olympic gold.
He Used the Decathlon to Get out of School
Sure, Trey Hardee entered the decathlon in high school, but just to get out of school.
He would compete once a year in the state championships so that he could get out of going to school. Being excused from class was enough for him to compete.
It's an odd beginning for an Olympian, but it's true.
Pole Vaulting Is His Best Event
Trey Hardee has been pole vaulting longer than any other event, and it has become his best.
Recruited out of high school to Mississippi State as a pole vaulter, he has the ability to make up ground or extend his lead during the pole vault on Day 2 of the decathlon.
Ironically, it was the pole vault that cost him a medal in the 2008 Olympics, as he failed to clear the starting height and finished fourth. However, it remains his best event.
He Is the NCAA Division 1 Record Holder
Trey Hardee enjoyed a very successful collegiate career at Mississippi State and Texas. He started getting serious about the decathlon with the Bulldogs as a freshman, as I said before, and he became very good at it.
After Mississippi State suffered cutbacks for its track and field program and their head coach changed schools, Hardee went to Texas.
It was with the Longhorns that Hardee set an NCAA record that still stands today. He tallied a score of 8,465 points at the 2006 Texas Relays The record has stood for six years.
It's also worth noting that he had set the NCAA Indoor Heptathlon record with a score of 6,136 points before Ashton Eaton later broke it.
He Considers the 1,500 Meter Run to Be the Hardest Event
The 1,500-meter run is the 10th and final event of the decathlon. A little less than a mile, it is a grueling finish to such a demanding competition.
Hardee finds it to be the most difficult event of the 10, simply because it is last:
"Honestly, it’s the most simple of events but because it’s at the end it’s the most challenging...You’re mentally and emotionally and physically almost at zero, and you know you have to empty the tank one more time to finish."
He does well in the final event, finishing at 4 minutes and 45.68 seconds at the 2011 World Championships; however, he still finds it to be the hardest event.
He Is a Two-Time World Outdoor Gold Medalist
Trey Hardee has won back-to-back outdoor world championships, coming in 2009 and 2011.
He is just the fourth American to win the world decathlon title, and the second to win it multiple times (Dan O'Brien).
Hardee is constantly among the best in the world, and he has proved it over the last few years.
He Is Coming Back from Reconstructive Elbow Surgery in 2011
At his most recent world championships in 2011 in Berlin, Trey Hardee gave everything he had.
During the ninth event, the javelin, he threw so hard that he injured his elbow and eventually needed surgery.
He underwent Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) reconstruction procedure (Tommy John surgery), but not before he raced in the 1,500m and secured a second world championship.
He Does Colorful Commercials with Red Bull
Trey Hardee has a partnership with Red Bull which has him doing some colorful commercials that give great insight into his life.
Among these commercials is the one to the left, which is about Hardee and the decathlon. However, this is not his only commercial.
Hardee's deal with Red Bull has been a great one, and hopefully it won't end any time soon.
He Rarely Eats Processed Food
Trey Hardee's diet has become a big part of his training regimen, and now he rarely eats processed food.
"I've heard coaches say this since I was in middle school—if you want your body to perform well you have to give it good fuel. That for me has been a trial by error and really a process of fine-tuning. It's hard to just give up junk food and soda."
He has worked incredibly hard to get to where he is today, and part of that has been giving up processed food.
He Is the Man to Beat in London
Trey Hardee is the man to beat in London. Period.
Right now he is the best decathlete in the world, and despite finishing in second at the U.S. Olympic trials, the gold medal is his to lose.
Hardee is a dominant athlete, and he will prove it over two days in London, cementing his status as the world's top athlete.
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