Taylor-made for the big occasion!
Triple jumper Christian Taylor is a big-stage performer and no amount of pressure can unsettle him as he showed in Doha.
Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson, Jonathan Edwards and Usain Bolt, to name but a few, were all superstars in track and field. They held sway over their challengers. You just could not look past them at any major competition.
American triple jumper Christian Taylor seems to be moving into the same league as he added his fourth World Championships gold to his kitty in Doha on Sunday. He had won the gold in Daegu (2011), Beijing (2015) and London (2017). Add the two Olympic gold medals – London (2012) and Rio de Janeiro (2016) – and there is no reason as to why he should not be in the big league.
- Daegu (2011) – Gold
- Beijing (2015) – Gold
- London (2017) – Gold
- Doha (2019) – Gold
- London (2012) – Gold
- Rio De Janeiro (2016) – Gold
Big event, lots of pressure and what do you get from Taylor – a superlative performance. He was almost out of the competition on Sunday, fouling his first two jumps. And another foul would have been disastrous. The pressure could have quite easily got to him. But the long-limbed American with a steely resolve came up with a 17.42M jump to keep himself in the fray and then improved upon it in the next rounds with jumps of 17.86 and 17.92 to clinch the gold.
Taylor said what helped him was his preparation and credited his coach Rana Reider for his success so far.
“This’s how we train … to be ready to respond. My coach and I’ve also practised how to stay calm and collected and I credit him for that,” said Taylor. “We’ve prepared diligently for this position. It has been a phenomenal journey and we’ve taken up so many challenges all around the world. And to be at the top again, I’m truly grateful to him.”
As Taylor grabbed the spotlight at the big events, his compatriot Will Claye has been pushed to the background. In fact it was Taylor who denied Claye the gold in Doha and also last time in London. In Daegu, in 2011, Claye was pushed to the third place. At the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, also Claye had to settle for bronze behind Taylor.
Both are aware of their head-to-head statistics, but for now they have chosen to focus on the positives their rivalry offer rather than winning or losing gold medals.
“If we’re both not in the competition or one of us is missing, it’s not the same. Then we relax and we don’t need that. We need to be on the edge to push each other,” said Taylor.
“Competitions like this are really great for our event. We just wanted to put on a show,” commented Claye.
Meanwhile, both felt that triple jump was not getting the attention it deserved despite their keen rivalry.
“We’ve some challenges making our presence felt, even at the Diamond League level. I think competition in triple jump is at a phenomenal level right now. We’ve been fighting all the year and trying to entertain everybody inside the stadium, but unfortunately we don’t get the desired attention,” said Taylor.
“Triple jump has been on the back burner for a lot of years, but we want to bring it to the limelight,” said Claye.
For the moment, it is Taylor who is often the winner. But if Claye could pull off that elusive win over his rival at least once, on a big stage, or one of them could break Briton Jonathan Edwards’ world mark of 18.29M, set in 1995, may be triple jump can regain some of its lost glamour.