Olympic and world triple jump champion’s sights are set on the world record
Olympic and world triple jump champion Christian Taylor has made no secret of the fact that his sights are set on breaking Jonathan Edwards’ almost 18-year-old world record.
The 22-year-old clearly has the potential to break a mark that has lasted a span of eight world outdoor championships and believes that, if anything, his new mental strength gained from his moved to the UK earlier this year could mean that mark doesn’t make a ninth when Moscow comes round.
The American moved from the United States to live in the East Midlands town of Loughborough earlier this year to join coach Rana Reider, who took a full-time coaching role with the UKA in 2012.
Taylor was back in the States this weekend competing at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, where he dominated to record a meet record of 17.12m. He had previously admitted that one of the biggest challenges he’s faced since moving to England is the change in climate.
“Obviously weather is the biggest thing,” he said. “I’m used to being in sunny Florida every day and then I come here and it’s snowing in March.
“It’s just different and I think it’s made me mentally stronger to deal with the different elements. I’m trying to make the best of it but it’s definitely been a transition.”
After coming from warm-weather training in South Africa, Taylor has been in Loughborough now since January and although he is still getting used to life in Britain, he is convinced it has been his best winter training by far.
“For sure I’m definitely stronger, faster, better,” he said. “I do believe I’m way further ahead than I was last year. I’m in a group with so many strengths; practicing jumps with British record-holders, then to sprints with three of the quickest in the country, it pushes you to your limit, producing the best in everyone.”
He continued: “I obviously had confidence coming from the World Championships but the Olympics are the pinnacle so having those two behind me back to back literally I couldn’t ask for a better situation.”
But he added: “There’s still not that world record by my name, having respect for the man that did it and having respect for that actual jump.”
Looking ahead a few months, Taylor confirmed: “Obviously I’m going to go back for the World Championship. It’s my title to defend now – and that’s pretty cool to say – but I do think I can get the world record.
“If I put little things here and there together and execute, I genuinely believe I have a good chance. Even speaking to Mr Edwards himself I believe he has been on ‘team Taylor’. No one wants to see their record broken but he’s kind of accepted I might have a chance!”
With triple jump competition strong in 2013 with Taylor, Will Claye of the United States, Teddy Tamgho of France and the former world champion from Britain, Phillips Idowu, Taylor believes that chance is made more likely by the fact that he is training with the enemy, as it were.
“Before it was Philips going to competitions and just dominating,” he said. “Not taking anything anyway from the other jumpers but he is on another level. It’s not only going to help me, but help him and that also helps UK athletics as a whole.
“We can do more competitions together which is going to bring our level of competition up. Spectator-wise it’s going to give them more of a show.”
» Christian Taylor spoke to Charlie Gibson. Read a more in-depth interview with Taylor in the April 11 issue of AW, which is available here