Will Claye Biography Facts, Childhood, Career & Personal Life

Will Claye Biography Facts, Childhood, Early Life, Career, Personal Life
Photo: Jiro Mochizuki via Red Bull

This article on Will Claye biography facts presents an analysis of his early life, childhood, career and personal life.

Will Claye (born June 13, 1991) is an American track and field athlete of Sierra Leonean descent.

He specializes in both the long jump and triple jump.

His career leaped in 2011 when he turned professional after a successful college career.

From the beginning of his fascinating career in Oklahoma, Claye has recorded numerous wins and set world-records.

Will Claye Biography Facts & Profile

Will Claye in 2019
Photo: Yann Caradec via Wikimedia.
  • Full Name: Will Claye
  • Date of Birth: June 13, 1991 (age 30 years)
  • Place of Birth: Tucson, United States
  • Nationality: American, Sierra Leonean
  • Height: 5 feet, 11 inches
  • Weight: 160 lbs (73 kg)
  • Education: The University of Oklahoma; University of Florida; Mountain Pointe High School
  • Sport: Track and Field
  • Events: Triple Jump, Long Jump
  • Turned Pro: 2012
  • Parents: William Claye Sr. (father); Saffie Tunis (mother)
  • Siblings: Taiyon Smith Claye, James Claye
  • Wife: Queen Quedith Claye (née Harrison)

Will Claye Childhood/Early Life

Will Claye was born on June 13, 1991, to his father, William Claye Sr. and mother, Saffie Tunis, in Tucson, United States.

However, he grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, in a low-income neighborhood filled with high crime rates.

Both of his parents are from Sierra Leone.

Saffie Tunis moved to the United States in 1988 for her doctorate in nutrition at the University of Arizona, where she met William Clay Sr.

They had Will Claye while in college.

Will and his two brothers were raised by their single mother while getting her doctorate and running her cleaning business.

His grandmother Martha Tunis was an integral part of his childhood — she took care of him while his mother and two brothers were at school.

From a young age, Claye loved sports.

Clay attended Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix, Arizona, where in both jumps, he was awarded the 2008 USA Today’s All-USA Team.

He was also a two-time Arizona Interscholastic Association triple jump high school champion.

Will Claye Career

College Career

The beginning of Claye’s career continued to his days at the University of Oklahoma, where he competed for the Oklahoma track and field team.

On the day he clocked 18 in 2009, he marked his new age with a win in the NCAA Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Championship in the triple jump and thus set a new American junior record of an impressive 56 ft 4.75 in.

The following year, Claye’s impressive form dwindled due to stress and fractures in his back and leg.

Following the 2010 outdoor season, Claye changed college to the University of Florida, where he met defending outdoor champion Christian Taylor and trained under jumps coach Dick Booth’s guidance.

With the new change came along new achievement as Florida won the 2011 NCAA Indoor National Championship with Claye’s national title in the triple jump and a runner-up finish in the long jump making up for the achievement.

In the 2011 NCAA Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Claye came second behind Taylor.

At the 2011 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Claye placed second again behind Taylor.

Will Claye in 2011 at the World Championships Athletics in Daegu.
Will Claye at the 2011 World Championships Athletics in Daegu. Wikimedia.

That year he rounded his collegiate career at Florida with two NCAA titles and eight “All American” honors.

He as well won the triple and long jumps at the 2011 SEC Championships.

Claye next competed at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics held in Daegu, South Korea.

He came 3rd in the triple jump and 9th in the long jump.

Professional Career

After the world championship, he and fellow teammate Christian Taylor pulled out from the University of Florida and turned professional to prepare for the 2012 London Olympics.

He penned a sponsorship deal with Nike and started training under Coach Martin Smith.

At the onset of the Olympic year, Claye was off to a terrific start.

At the 2012 Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas, he led the mark in the triple jump of 57 ft 0.75, which happened to be his valid jump in the elite competition.

The 2012 USA Indoor Championships saw Claye established a world-leading mark of 57 ft 10.25 in as he jumped above heights of 57 feet on three straight jumps in the triple jump event, which he won.

It didn’t end there for Claye.

He went on finishing second in the long-jump, achieving jump heights of 26 ft 3.75 in.

At the 2012 IAFF World Indoor Championships, he won his first world title.

He beat Christian Taylor in the triple jump with a clearance of 17.70 m and finished fourth in the long jump.

He came second at the Shanghai and Eugene legs of the 2012 Diamond League for the outdoor season.

After enjoying success at the start of the year, Claye was geared up for the 2012 London Olympics.

In the Olympics’ long jump event, he grabbed his first Olympic medal, a bronze medal.

Five days later, he followed it up with a silver medal in the triple jump.

With those wins, he became the first man since Naoto Yakima of Japan at the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics to win medals on both the long and triple jumps.

At the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil, Claye Triple jumped 17.76 m to win a silver medal.

Video: 2016 Olympic Men’s Triple Jump finals in Rio

In 2019 Claye set a personal best of 18.14 m at the Jim Bush Southern California UATF Championships on Long Beach to rank among the top 3 triple jumpers of all time.

Will Claye Personal Life

Wife

In October 2018, Will Claye married his beautiful wife, Queen Quedith Claye (née Harrison), who is also an American Olympic athlete.

The couple got engaged in an epic Olympic proposal during the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where Clay won silver.

Claye recounts that his “Queen” is such a strong woman and reminds him of his grandmother.

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