What's the significance of the Olympics to you?

I remember being at the long jump [in the 2004 Olympics], and I lost it. I started crying. I got down on my knees and I prayed, "Lord, no matter what happens here, I'm so thankful that you allowed me to come here. This is everything that I've ever dreamed of." Being at the Olympics stadium, hearing the crowd, knowing that I'm competing for the United States, this is what I've always dreamed about. It's not about winning the gold medal — that's a goal — but the purest part of the dream wasn't about winning the gold medal. It was about that moment. At that moment everything was perfect in life. I said, "I thank you so much for this, no matter what the outcome is, I thank you, I praise you, I give you all the glory. Whatever happens from this point on, just enable me to glorify you no matter what."

Have you been able to maintain that mentality?

I think I have. That's the attitude I've been trying to maintain throughout my career. When you have to do [well] to continue to put food on the table for your family and pay the bills, it definitely gets tough. But I think that's why God has surrounded me with the people who are around me here. I don't think God meant for you to do it on your own.

If I can keep modeling my career after my spiritual life, the sky's the limit.

What do you hope people are praying for you?

It's hard to say, because one side of me doesn't want to ask people not to pray that I would win. [Yet] God has shown me that if I can keep my priorities in order — keep God first, family second, track third — that he takes care of everything else. It sounds kind of unreal, but if I can get up and do my devotions and plug in my iPod with my worship music in it while I go to the track, then I have a great day.

A lot of attention has been paid to the lengths you've gone to in showing you're not taking performance-enhancing drugs.

There are people out there who are doing it clean. I'm a part of this new drug testing program, Project Believe, where I have to go through two weeks of drug testing — I got tested six times, blood and urine tests. I [also] get tested randomly once a month, and I still get tested at track meets.

A huge reason why I haven't even been tempted to take drugs is because I realize that winning is not my life; it's not my identity. I know that God has me doing what I'm doing, and I know that I can win; I also know that I'm not going to win all the time. Either way, win or lose, that God is going to provide for me.

Is competition itself a spiritual experience for you?

When I'm running, I feel like I'm right where God wants me. I feel him looking down and saying, "That's my boy."

Related Elsewhere:

Clay answers questions and gives updates on his blog.

Olympic track and field events will begin on Friday.

CT Liveblog lists more Christian Olympians who are likely to medal, including track stars Allyson Felix, Tyson Gay, and Sanya Richards.

For more on all the Olympians, including live streaming video of the Games, visit www.NBCOlympics.com.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.