Early in her career, Clayton set records in the 100m and 200m with U17 Solihull (UK) Track Team and later competed with the Birchfield Harriers for several years. In 1996, Clayton was honored as one of Birchfield’s top athletes for placing first in the 100m, 200m, 4×100 and 4x00m relays. She was named European Club Champion MVP.
A 1998 graduate from the Matthew Boulton College of Higher Education, Clayton earned an academic scholarship and worked as a research assistant for Huntsman Surface Science. While training for the 2000 Olympics, she earned her degree in applied chemistry from Wolverhampton University.
While at the Sydney Olympics 2000, Sam learned an invaluable lesson. She learned that anything is possible if you set goals, believe in yourself and work hard. At the start of Olympic year, she needed to improve her personal best time by one second. In sprint terms one second is a huge leap in distance and difficult to achieve in one season. Everyone told her it was impossible. But, it wasn’t impossible for Sam. With her determination, grit and ‘never give up’ attitude Samantha reached that goal.
Sam speaks of the day she stepped onto the Olympic track with pride. “When I stepped onto the Olympic track for the first time, I looked at the Olympic flame in awe. It was at that moment I promised that I would always believe in myself. I had made it!”