Hardee honored with Jim Thorpe All-Around Award by the United States Sport Academy
Nov. 23, 2009
AUSTIN, Texas -- As a competitive young boy, Trey Hardee dreamed of winning. Now, he merely dreams of persisting, and in the decathlon, that’s exactly what winning is.
Competed over two days, comprised of 10 events as far-ranging as the 1,500 meters and pole vault, the decathlon tests the mind and the body, and an individual’s ability to use both in unison.
Hardee is the world’s best at that right now. After scoring a career-best total of 8,790 points to win the World Championships in Berlin last August, Hardee was just named the winner of the Jim Thorpe All-Around Award by the United States Sport Academy.
The Jim Thorpe All-Around Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in multiple sports, or multiple events of the same sport, and who exhibits the qualities of versatility, strength, speed, flexibility and conditioning. Hardee was presented with the medal by UT Men’s Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds during the Texas-Kansas Football game this past weekend.
“I always ask myself, ‘Can I get faster? Can I get stronger?’” Hardee says. “Little things in the weight room, on the track -- little things keep you sharp. You can never have perfect form, never be as fit as you could possibly be.
“It’s the vanishing horizon that keeps you going, and you keep running towards it.”
Hardee has evolved into a decathlete since embracing the event as a college freshman. Since then, he’s mortared 40 pounds of muscle onto his frame and was the 2006 NCAA Division I Men’s Indoor Field Athlete of the Year while competing for the Texas Longhorns.
Hardee was also the 2005 NCAA Outdoor champion and is the current NCAA decathlon record-holder, but Hardee’s coach Mario Sategna says Hardee’s biggest growth has really been between his ears.
“He’s matured into the event,” says Sategna, also the UT Men’s Track and Field associate head coach. “He understands patience, because it’s a long two days. But when it’s time to compete, he feeds off the adrenaline.”
Hardee’s triumph at last summer’s world championships was career-defining in many ways. He set personal-best marks in the long jump, shot put and javelin throw, and those feats are more significant when considering that Hardee didn’t finish the decathlon in the Beijing Olympics because of misses in the pole vault.
“Emotional control is a big part of it, when things are going good and when they go bad,” Hardee says. “You can’t practice that. You learn from competition, and I learned more from my experience in Beijing probably than I would have, had I won.”
The result was a dominating performance at the World Championships almost one year later, and Hardee’s name is now forever etched among the likes of Bo Jackson, Herschel Walker, Deion Sanders and Dan O’Brien as recipients of this award.
“I’ve had to the opportunity to coach several great Olympic decathletes, like two-time Olympic gold medalist winner Bob Mathias, and this young man is every bit as good. He has a great career in front of him,” said Dr. Thomas Rosandich, president of the USAA.
This award bears the name of Jim Thorpe, who made a name for himself at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden when he won both the pentathlon and decathlon events. The Swedish king later proclaimed to Thorpe, “Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world.”
And, fittingly, Thorpe went on to play professional baseball and football.
“Trey is a great representative for the Texas program and you can see that in the accolades he’s received over the last year,” UT Men’s Track and Field coach Bubba Thornton said. “To be a World Champion is amazing in itself and now he’s been recognized in the United States as the top all-around athlete. That’s pretty special and it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person.”