ESCAPING THE SLUMP
Having won world and Olympic triple jump titles all before the age of 23, Christian Taylor's steady march to greatness faltered last year when he finished down in fourth at the Moscow 2013 World Championships. He tells SPIKES all about the "slump" - and why his wake-up call might just be the best thing for his career.
Teddy Tamgho took the plaudits in Moscow for sealing world triple jump gold with that mighty 18.04m leap. Meanwhile, the deposed world champion left the arena a deflated fourth. Out of the medals, and some 0.84m down on the fabulous Frenchman, Christian Taylor had done something very rare, and lost a major competition.
A world youth triple jump champion in 2007, the Georgian-born athlete had almost nonchalantly collected ten All-American NCAA Division 1 titles, including three NCAA crowns. Two US titles followed, not to mention the world title in Daegu and Olympic gold in London.
In late 2012, Taylor moved from his Florida training base to the very different surroundings of Loughborough in the heart of England, following his coach, Rana Reider. Although he finished the 2013 season as the overall Diamond League winner, he couldn't quite produce the same fizz as the previous two years.
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(Editor's note: SPIKES has been doing some fantastic pieces on athletes, and the sport.)