Des Moines – Triple jump king Christian Taylor believes the venue of next year’s Olympics in Tokyo could inspire him to finally overhaul Jonathan Edwards’ 24-year-old world record.
Taylor, 29, has dominated his event for much of the past decade, winning Olympic gold medals in 2012 and 2016 and World Championship crowns in 2011, 2015 and 2017.
But despite numerous attempts, Taylor has so far failed to surpass British jumper Edwards’ world mark of 18.29m set at the 1995 World Championships in Gothenburg.
Taylor admits that pursuit of the record, after a career in which he has won everything there is to win multiple times, is his last remaining goal.
“It’s why I’m in the sport,” Taylor told AFP. “I love track and field, but (the record) is the reason why I’m still competing.
“It’s the only thing I have left.”
Taylor has gone close to the record on several occasions, with his personal best a leap of 18.21m at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing.
However, the Vienna-based Taylor hopes that the crowd energy in Tokyo next year can help him find the extra few inches needed to better the record, just as it inspired Mike Powell to break Bob Beamon’s longstanding long-jump record at the 1991 World Championships. Twenty-eight years later, Powell’s mammoth leap of 8.95m has never been bettered.
“Tokyo is clearly a place to jump,” Taylor said. “If I were to get the record at the Olympic Games, it would be the icing on the cake of my career. I definitely think the crowd energy is going to be there. I’ve just got to make sure I do my part.”
For now, Taylor will turn his attention to defending his world title in Doha.
Although automatically qualified for the worlds as a defending champion, he was required to enter the triple jump competition in Des Moines on Friday as a formality.
He ran through the pit with his first attempt and then sat out the remainder of the competition, rather than risk injury.
“I hate to come to competition not to compete,” Taylor said. “But at the same time, rules are rules.”
Taylor, meanwhile, hopes that his event can persuade athletics’ global administrators that it is worth retaining at Diamond League.
The triple jump is reported to be one of several events the IAAF is considering dropping from the international circuit.
Taylor believes challenging for the world record would be one way of ensuring the triple jump’s survival.
“I feel like we’re almost in a survival state right now,” Taylor told AFP. “It’s not fun to start the season knowing that maybe we’re not in the series next year.
“But I think we’ve shown that we’re the strongest we’ve ever been. If we can start pushing that barrier again, people will want to watch us and maybe that will make an appeal to keep us on.”