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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Before Will Claye ran like his brother, he walked like him.

“I always wanted to be just like him,” the 21-year-old Gator and two-time Olympic medalist said. “He would go to [track] practice, and I would come with him and just watch him.”

Since then, Claye’s feet have brought him a long way.

Today is Will Claye Day in Gainesville.

After winning a national title in triple jump on the Gators track and field team as a freshman in 2009 and again in 2011, the family, youth and community sciences senior won a silver medal in the triple jump and a bronze medal in the long jump at the 2012 London Olympic Games this summer.

Claye became the first athlete to win medals in both events in the same Olympics since 1936.

Today, Claye will receive another award, but it won’t be one he can bring home.

Mayor Craig Lowe will honor him at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.

“I think it’s important that Gainesville recognize those that go out in the world and make contributions and represent our city,” Lowe said.

Claye said he only recently learned the day would be dedicated to him, but the news came as a welcomed surprise.

“Every year when [Oct. 4] comes around, I’ll be like, ‘Shoot, its my day in Gainesville,’” Claye said. “That’s an honor. Not too many people can say that.”

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