This column, written by Stuart Weir, is on defending World Champion and defending Olympic gold medalist Christian Taylor. Stuart’s job is to provide @runblogrun daily observations on the London World Champs. At Monaco, he was so inspired, he provided seven columns on the meet. I liked this one on Christian Taylor, one of our favorite competitors.
Some thoughts on Christian Taylor, by Stuart Weir
Christian Taylor needed just one jump to secure qualification for Thursday’s Triple Jump final. Commenting on the atmosphere in the stadium, Taylor said: “The audience is great. I went for a good show. They have spent so much money on the tickets”. I am not sure he is right in his second comment with some tickets costing only Â£18.29 – to celebrate Jonathan Edwards’ 1995 World record.
The atmosphere did not surprise Taylor. As he told me before the event: “I expect London 2017 to be very similar to the 2012 Olympics, where I won my first Olympic title. I have also competed in the Diamond League in London as well as the Olympics and there is always a fantastic crowd. The energy will be quite different from – and better than – some of the other world championships; the crowd in London is always very knowledgeable about athletics. So the athletes will feel a lot more alive with the crowd really getting into it”.
He adds: “When I went to Moscow in 2013 for the World Championships it felt very foreign – Russia was a place I had never really thought of going to. So I felt quite out of my comfort zone. In contrast, I have been to London many, many times – it is like a comfort blanket. I even have family there and all that will play a big part in my competition”.
Christian Taylor is the reigning World and Olympic champion in the triple jump. In fact, he is looking for his third world championship gold this summer and thinks London is a great place to have the event! But as he pointed out tonight, while it may have looked easy he was not taking anything for granted: “People don’t realise that before a medal or a world record, you have to qualify. That is the most difficult and the first step. I needed to stay calm.”
With two Olympic titles and two world championship gold medals in his locker, Taylor is certainly a major event specialist. He credits coach, Rana Reider, with getting his athletes in peak condition for the big ones, pointing out: “I think since Deagu 2011 my best performance of the year has always been in the championship. It’s always my focus and the way we train to produce our best performances towards the end of the season”.
Then after the qualification, he was asked – inevitably – about breaking the world record in Jonathan Edwards’ own back yard: “Get the world record? Why not here? I made that promise to myself. I am second on the all-time list but second can be a very frustrating place. I am 9 centimetres off the record and need to keep the hunger and the drive because until I get the number one spot, my job is not done. I am looking for a jump of 18:40 and hoping that this is the year”. This year – make that this week!
Finally, I thought you should know: as a teenage soccer player Taylor used his jumping ability to head goals from corners.