BEIJING – The next best thing to seeing a world-record performance?
That would be seeing the second-best ever performance, of course.
American Christian Taylor provided that memorable moment on Thursday evening in the triple jump at the IAAF World Championships when he bounded all the way out to 59 feet, 9 inches (18.21m), just 3 ¼ inches shy of the venerable 20-year-old world record held by Great Britain’s Jonathan Edwards.
Taylor’s huge jump came on his sixth and final attempt of the competition. Because Taylor was jumping second-to-last in the order, rival Pedro Pablo Pichardo of Cuba would get the final jump of the evening. He and Pichardo have battled for supremacy all year long in the Diamond League triple jump competition, and Taylor was worried.
“I wasn’t the last jumper and I knew I had to do something special because Pichardo is a phenomenal jumper,” Taylor said. “If it wasn’t over 18 meters, I knew it was his for the taking. Everything lined up for me, and I’m just grateful.”
Pichardo did improve on his final attempt, but his jump of 58-2 (17.73m) was not close to Taylor’s historic mark.
As good as Taylor’s jump was, it could have been even better. He did not get all of the board on his takeoff. Had it been a perfect takeoff, Taylor would be celebrating a new world record. But he said he was content with a new American record and the second-best triple jump in history. Perhaps for the first time ever, Edwards’ jump of 60’-0 ¼ (18.29m) is looking vulnerable.
“Even on my best jump ever, it just shows you how far that (record) distance truly is.”