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BEIJING — Now it’s on to graduate school for Jangy Addy. He finished his Olympic education Friday night, ending up 20th in the decathlon against the world’s best.
With 7,665 points, his finish was right in the middle of what started as a field of 40 competitors.
“It was a good experience,” said Addy, a two-time SEC champion while at Tennessee. “I wish I could have done better, but all and all it was a great opportunity for me to compete against the best athletes in the world.”
His quick journey to Beijing is well documented by now. After finishing sixth in the U.S. Olympic trials he was figuring to stay home and watch the Games on TV like everyone else. But, less than a month before the Olympics he accepted Liberia’s offer to compete. His parents are both native Liberians.
The quick turnaround has put him in a little bind about what to do next.
“It’s funny,” he said. “I was supposed to be at grad school and I got the call that I was coming here. So I didn’t get the chance to send in the application. I don’t know if they’ll still let me in. Hopefully it will work out when I get back.”
Addy, who graduated from UT last May, was planning to continue his studies there.
He did learn a lot here in Beijing. He started Friday ninth, but began sliding almost immediately.
In the 110-meter hurdles finished in 14.31 seconds for 10th best in the event but fell to 11th in the standings. Despite finishing 22nd in the discus he moved back up to ninth overall. Then he ended up 21st in the pole vault, 20th in the javelin and 25th in the 1,500.
Addy, who said he is known as a first-day decathlete, said the little changes in how the decathlon is done at the Olympics contributed to his slide.
“Honestly, I thought I was going to feel better today,” he said. “Unfortunately, I didn’t feel as good as I wanted to. A lot of things from throughout the season added to it and the way the meet is run here. You have three events in the morning and then two at night. It makes for a 12 to 14 hour day and five hours sleep. I was up at five and won’t get to bed until midnight.”
Bryan Clay of the United States has learned those lessons well. After winning silver at Athens in 2004, he was an easy gold here, coasting through the last event because of his huge lead. He had 8,791 program points to 7,665 for Addy.
Addy said he plans to continue in the decathlon but doesn’t know exactly how he will go about it.
“Hopefully it will all work out,” he said. “You’re never satisfied. You always want to be better. But, like I said, I’m thankful for the opportunity, thankful I finished. I want to go back next year and try to build on it.”
“Being in the Olympics has been great. I know what a value and honor it is,” he said. “I am thankful for everyone who supported me, for everyone back in Knoxville.”
If grad school works out, he will be back there for awhile.