Zachary Clay of Canada competes in mens artistic gymnasticsChristopher Morris/COC
Christopher Morris/COC

Zachary Clay

Biographie

Zachary Clay was a member of the Canadian squad at the 2023 FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships that qualified a full men’s team for Paris 2024 – the first time Canada would have a full men’s artistic gymnastics team at the Olympic Games since 2008. Clay competed on all six apparatus to help Canada place fourth in the qualification round. They went on to finish seventh in the final. That was Clay’s seventh world championship appearance.  

Clay competed at his first Pan American Games at Lima 2019 where he helped Canada win bronze in the team event. It was the first time since 1999 that Canada had won a men’s team medal at the Pan Am Games. He also qualified for the apparatus final on pommel horse.

Clay broke onto the international scene in 2014 when he competed at his first FIG World Championships and was part of the team that won bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. He also competed at the 2015 World Championships before suffering a torn ACL and fractured tibia while competing at an event in Switzerland. He was unsure if he would ever walk without a limp again, but following surgery and eight months of intense rehab, he was able to return to training and won his first career senior all-around national title in 2017. He went on to qualify for the all-around final at the 2017 World Championships in Montreal. In 2018, Clay won team silver and pommel horse bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

Clay helped Canada win team silver at the 2023 Pan American Championships. He had previously won pommel horse gold at the Pan Am Championships in 2017.

As a Tyro competitor, Clay won four gold medals (all-around, pommel horse, vault, parallel bars) at the 2010 Canadian Championships. His hero Kyle Shewfelt put one of his gold medals around his neck, a key moment in motivating him to continue to work hard to represent Canada. He moved up to the junior division for 2011 and 2012 before debuting as a senior in 2013. In 2011 he won three medals at the Canada Winter Games, including pommel horse gold and silvers in team and vault.

A Little More About Zachary

Getting into the Sport: Started gymnastics at age 5 and began competing at age 8… His pre-school teacher told his parents that he had amazing coordination and that she had never seen a pre-schooler with such good athletic abilities, so she recommended gymnastics… Outside Interests: Enjoys hiking… Odds and Ends: Nickname: Zach… Role models are Olympians Richard and Ken Ikeda, who are also his coaches… Eats an apple before competing… Favourite motto: “Hungry for greatness”…

Palmarès international

Pan American Games: 2023 - SILVER (team); 2019 – BRONZE (team), 6th (pommel horse), 30th (rings)

Commonwealth Games: 2018 – SILVER (team), BRONZE (pommel horse); 2014 – BRONZE (team), 8th (parallel bars)

FIG World Championships: 2023 – 7th (team), 49th (all-around), 28th (pommel horse), 63rd (horizontal bar), 68th (rings), 96th (floor exercise), 124th (parallel bars); 2022 – 10th (team), 11th (pommel horse), 39th (parallel bars), 72nd (rings), 132nd (horizontal bar), 2021 – 19th (pommel horse), 44th (parallel bars); 2018 – 18th (team), 48th (horizontal bar), 64th (parallel bars), 91st (rings), 94th (pommel horse), 164th (all-around),  2017 – 21st (all-around), 41st (pommel horse), 42nd (horizontal bar), 46th (rings), 54th (parallel bars), 79th (floor exercise); 2015 – 15th (team); 2014 – 14th (team), 69th (all-around), 63rd (pommel horse), 136th (floor exercise), 182nd (rings), 157th (vault), 124th (parallel bars), 139th (horizontal bar)

Pacific Rim Championships: 2012 – 6th (team), 9th (all-around), 8th (floor exercise), 8th (pommel horse)