Trey Hardee is an athlete with a capital A. Two time Olympian and Silver Medalist, Two time World Champion in the most demanding of T&F events, the Decathlon. Trey is also a keen, thoughtful observer of our sport. With his permission we are re-posting this commentary that he recently posted on Facebook.
I don’t always write my posts directly to FB, but there’s been a lot going on lately.
First of all, my thoughts and prayers go out to Michael Schrader. My fellow decathlete suffered a terrible injury a last week and will be forced to miss this summers Rio Olympics. It is always gutting to hear about bad injuries, but even worse when it is someone you know and respect. To have a dream taken away from you is a maddening thing and I wish I could do something more than “wish him the best”. I was very fortunate the week before his accident to only have a bad sprain when I dislocated my foot- now, every waking moment, I’m shouting my blessings. It could have been much, much worse.
The second thing is that this is an Olympic year. Things start to happen in these years. National pride and support comes out of the woodwork. Over time, it makes you start to think that the Olympic decathlon is different that other decathlons. Well… It’s not. **bubble bursts**. It’s the same 10 events and the same time schedule as most major meets. There will be a scoring table, 4 races, 3 jumps, 3 throws and 3 attempts per bar. I guess that’s the trick, to think of it that way. It’s something I’ve learned over time and has carried me a long way. I’m getting older, but decathlons are getting easier 😉 .
The third thing that’s on my mind is that “turmoil” our sport is in. Or at least media likes to say it’s spiraling out of control. The money is being passed back and forth behind closed doors and athletes aren’t getting a chance to earn a living. Well, I don’t know all the facts and I’m sure we won’t know the facts for years to come. I’m not informed enough to have an opinion. “Better to be quiet and thought of as wise than to open you mouth and sound like an idiot”.
What I do know is that we are in a sport that is 100% objective. It’s why I gravitated to the track instead of other sports. It’s completely, utterly honest. There are winners and losers and zero “best effort” medals. Track and field athletes are human genetic marvels. We can push our bodies further, run faster, jump higher and perform better than 99.999% of the planet. (Most of that is thanks to our parents’ genes 😉 ). That being said, they are going to hand out medals this summer to the best 3 decathletes in the world. And I’m going for the gold one.
I think sometimes people get caught in a trap of “I deserve”… For me, T&F is a great allegory for reaping and sowing. You put in work, you get to reap the benefits. If that lands you in the top 30, great! If it lands you in the top 10, outstanding. If it lands you in the top 3, you deserve a medal. You are rewarded for the spot you EARN. You are not GIVEN a reward because you tried hard. A great lesson in life is that it is far better to earn something than to have it given to you. Simple as that.
All I can take care of is my own business. I can’t control the USATF or IAAF. I’m not condoning any of these bodies recent “feather ruffling” actions and inactions. I’m just trying to showcase my God given gifts, win medals, and provide for my family.
If you can’t already tell, I’m not a hyper-serious guy. I find joy in my job and absolutely love what I do. It’s a full time pursuit and everything I’ve sacrificed along the way has been worth it. Thank you to everyone for your words of support and encouragement through the peaks and valleys.