The triple jump is a challenging event. 1980 Olympic champion Sebastian Coe called it once, the track & field event most destructive to the body. It looks simple, a hop, a skip and a jump, however, the physical strength, core strength, speed and agility needed to do the event right takes years.
And, when a young athlete comes along who masters the event, and challenges the big guys, they need to be acknowledged. The truth is, in the US, Christian Taylor and Will Claye are the two big guys in the triple jump. They swapped World Championships, with Taylor winning the outdoor and Claye winning the indoor. In each case, the other jumper was the silver medalist.
At the recent Nike Pre Classic, held on June 2, Christian Taylor opened with a jump of 17.38 meters, taking the lead. In the misty and cool evening that was the Hollister Night at Hayward, day 1 of the Nike Pre Classic, Christian Taylor took his second jump, and came out with the world leader, of 17.62 meters, or 57-9 1/2. A stellar jump, and the jump that held up to be the winner.
" I love competing at Hayward Field, " noted Christian Taylor afterwards. " The crowd here is always supportive of the triple jump, and they get into it! "
Winning at Hayward Field is a big deal for Christian, as it is for any track & field athlete. Hayward Field is hallowed ground in the sport of athletics. The track complex built by the three Bills (Hayward, Bowerman, Dellinger), will be the host of the US Olympic Trials from June 21 to July 1. During those amazing days and nights, the best of the best in US Track & Field will compete for one of three spots on the team for each event.
Christian Taylor won the triple jump in Eugene on June 1, with Will Claye, his former college team mate, in second, and Phillips Idowu, the 2009 World Champion, in third in this competition. Phillips, in fact, retired from the competition, after his third attempt, concerned about jumping in the rain and causing any injuries.
Between now and the US and UK Trials, these athletes have to make sure all is working properly, and that the little things that bug an elite athlete are taken care of, with massage, ice baths, rest, stretching, and careful workouts.
The men's triple jump will be a great event to watch at the US Olympic Trials, with Christian Taylor and Will Claye more than likely to go 1,2 in the event. The battle for London 2012 will have more players: Teddy Tamgho of France, a mercurial jumper, who has the world indoor best, Phillips Idowu of Great Britain, who has the experience and drive to make the medal battle in London a great competition. There will also be Cuban and Russian triple jumpers who can shake the form chart up as well.
The truth be told, Christian Taylor, healthy, motivated, and focused, should be on everyone's short list. His jumps in Eugene show that he is ready to hop, skip and jump in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday, June 30, 2012....