The Men’s triple jump, one of the most technical and toughest events in the sport, has seen standards backslide, notes Stuart Weir in this column. Stuart also pays tribute to Jonathan Edwards and Olympic champ and 4 time World Champ, two-time Olympic champ Christian Taylor, who, recovering from a serious injury, did not make the TJ final in 2022 WC. Christian Taylor defined an era in the Triple Jump.
Men’s Triple jump standards going backward.
In 1995, and I remember it well, Jonathan Edwards set two world records in the course of the 1995 World Championship triple jump competition. His second world record jump of 18.29 meters stands to this day. The triple jump seems to be going backward. In the 2022 World Championship qualifying round, the automatic qualifying standard was set at 17.05, but only 5 of the 29 entrants achieved it.
The winning distance in the last few championships confirms the trend:
2021 Olympics 17.98m
2019 World Championships 17.92m
2017 World Championships 17.68m
2016 Olympics 17.86m
2015 World Championships 18.21m
Seven years since there was an 18-meter jump in a championship final.
The winning distance in the USA Championships this year was 17.07m, with only one 17-meter jump in the final, and the British Championships – what must Jonathan be thinking – was won with 16.76m.
The triple jump is a complex, technical event, but that does not explain why competitions that 10 years ago required a high 17-meter jump are now being won with a much smaller distance.
A sad aspect of the Oregon Triple Jump was seeing former Olympic and World Champion Christian Taylor, still recovering from a serious injury, 18th with 16.48m and well outside the 12 finalists.
He commented: “It is a tough day personally. I just wanted to fight, come and compete again. I had the best series of the year for me. I always try to find the silver lining. It’s disappointing not to make the final. I am not used to this feeling, but I knew I’d be a humble week in and week out this season. I am trying to learn from it and get better every week. I am grateful to be here; lovely atmosphere a full stadium. Just to feel the love for athletics, how couldn’t you enjoy the moment still. Athletes or not, we all deal with setbacks. It’s just having that mindset of perseverance and resilience through this time of the pandemic. We learned to be flexible and work through adversity. I encourage athletes and non-athletes to still have that fight. There will be times when you want to give up, but your breakthrough could be right around the corner. Just keep fighting. With the season I am having now, it could be difficult sometimes, but I tell myself to keep fighting.”
Christian Taylor always was a class act.