Christian Taylor, gold medalist, Triple Jump, photo by PhotoRun.net
After the Triple jump battle on August 9, one of the most enjoyable press conferences that I have ever witnessed was Christian Taylor, gold, Will Claye, silver and Fabrizio Donatao, bronze.
All three praised each other, spoke of the respect that they have, how much they love competition and how much any one of them can get Jonathan Edward’s epic Triple Jump World record.
Here is the big question, the guy with the best jumps over the last two years, Christian Taylor, who jumped 17.96m in 2011 and, so far, 17.81m in 2012–can he get the World Record? That is 18.29m, just over sixty feet!
What a whirlwind two years it has been for Christian Taylor. In 2012, Taylor won his first World Championship, in a duel with his former training partner, Will Claye and the most respected triple jumper of the era, Phillips Idowu. Taylor’s 17.96m win challenged Idowu to jump his seasonal best os 17.77m in 2011. Will Claye took the bronze in the triple jump in Daegu, so the US went 1,3. Pretty darn impressive.
The battle royale would be on for 2012.
Teddy Tamgho, the french triple jump dynamo got injured, with an ankle issue that required surgery. Phillips Idowu battled, until the day of qualifying, what seems like sciatica, and will, per Phillips, surgery probably later in the year.
” I take the indoor season quite relaxed,” Christian told RBR after his silver medal in the World Indoors, where Will Claye took the gold indoor medal. ” It was great that Will won.”
” I am focused on one thing in 2012, bringing the gold medal in the triple jump home to America.”
Taylor has had a great season. At Pre Classic on June 1, he jumped 17.63m in the rain, which, ironically, was where Phillips Idowu admitted later, he may have tweaked his back. Will Claye took second in Pre classic.
When the Olympic Trials came to be, June 22-July 1, the day of reckoning was June 29, as Christian took one jump, a fine 17.62m jump, and Will Claye took three, as they went 1, 2 in the US Trials. A month to go!
Two weeks before the Olympics, Christian Taylor won his last event, in 17.41m, in the foggy, cool midst that some expected for London Olympics.
The Olympics are like nothing else any one competes in. While Will Claye got a good early jump, after a first foul, and took the lead with a jump of 17.54m or 57-6.5m.
But, there was trouble in paradise. Christian had trouble, with two fouls. He desperately needed a good jump, putting him in top 8 or his dream was over. Using a safety jump, Christian hit 17.15m or 56-3.25 and moved himself into fifth. A deep sigh of relief and Coach Rena Reider, kept Taylor focused on the prize. Rena’s involvement should not be underestimated. “We are friends. I ask Coach to travel with me everywhere.”
Reider is an interesting guy. He obviously loves coaching and he has his athletes respect. He has sprinters and jumpers in his fold, including Britain’s Shara Proctor, GBR record holder in the long jump. He kept Taylor healthy and focused, which, in an event like the triple jump, is a huge point. The triple jump puts huge pressure on the body, especially the back and hips.
Will Claye, silver medal, Triple Jump, photo by PhotoRun.net
In round 4, Christian just busted it open, not only taking the lead, but jumping a world leading 17.81m, or 58-5.25. Will Claye responded, as he always does, with a fine 17.64m, or 57-9.75m.
The Americans were in positions 1 and 2. Fabrizio Donato of Italy, who had four jumps over 17.30m, got to 17.48m to take third.
With Christian Taylor in first and Will Claye in second, they had repeated the 1,2 jumps of Mike Conley and Charlie Simpkins from 1996!
” We want to make the jumps cool again. We have great athletes, we want to kids jumping, so we need to keep it fun.” noted Will Claye.
” Look any of the three of us can get a long jump. One morning I could wake up and see that Will Claye or Fabrizio Donato could have the World Record. The way Fabrizio was jumping in the final, we knew he could get a big one! ” noted a very realistic Christian Taylor.
The duo of Taylor and Claye, who bring the best out in each other are totally respectful of each other, which gives me pause. These athletes give no quarter during the competition, but they are “brothers” off the field of competition.
Here are a couple of quotes, you decide”
“It is awesome. Me and Christian have been going 1-2 for a long time. We have a brotherhood, and jumping against your brother, you go harder than you do with anyone else. It feels like it is just me and Christian out there sometimes, you know. It is an awesome rivalry, and we definitely push each other and help each other.” That was Will Claye on Christian.
“There is just so much going on right now, but I am so blessed to share this moment with my family, my grandparents and so many people in the crowd right now. My coach Rana Reider and I have just worked tremendously hard, and to see this all come together at this time is a blessing.” This was Christian Taylor on Will and his coach, Rana Reider.
So, the question remains, who can get Jonathan Edward’s world record? Well, in an event like this Friday, at the DN Galen Games, on August 17, in Stockholm, Sweden, the triple jump record could go. Christian Taylor and Will Claye will be competing against each other, in front 20,000 knowledgable track fans.
My belief? In an event like DN Galen, Christian Taylor and Will Claye will push each other over the record, perhaps both can get it, but it will go and these two Americans look like the likely suspects! Stay tuned.
Christian Taylor, 2012 Nike Pre Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net