By Jonathan Gault
August 16, 2016
RIO DE JANEIRO — American Christian Taylor needed only one attempt to become the first man in 36 years to retain his Olympic triple jump title this morning, leaping a world-leading 17.86 meters (58’7″) in the first round to earn the victory. Just as in London four years ago, Taylor’s American teammate Will Claye earned the silver medal with a personal best of 17.76, while China’s World Indoor champ Bin Dong also set a pb of 17.58 to take the bronze. Taylor, who would have won the competition with any of his three legal jumps, now owns two Olympic and two world titles and has a serious case as the greatest triple jumper of all time. Claye, who beat Taylor at the U.S. Olympic Trials, did not get the gold but he still had a pretty good morning as in addition to his medal, he proposed to his girlfriend, U.S. hurdler Queen Harrison on his victory lap. She said yes.
|POS||BIB||ATHLETE||COUNTRY||MARK||WIND||DETAIL||ATTEMPT 1||ATTEMPT 2||ATTEMPT 3||ATTEMPT 4||ATTEMPT 5||ATTEMPT 6|
Quick Take #1: Is Christian Taylor now the GOAT (the Greatest of All Time)?
There are three men who have a case as the greatest triple jumper of all time. Let’s take a closer look at them.
Viktor Saneyev, Soviet Union
Saneyev is the most decorated triple jump Olympian ever as he won three Olympic golds (1968, 1972, 1976) and a silver (1980). He also broke the world record three times. He was unquestionably the greatest jumper of his era, but his personal best of 17.44 meters ranks just 83rd all-time. Whether you view Saneyev as the GOAT depends on how much weight you assign to dominance during one’s prime and advances in footwear and training techniques.
Jonathan Edwards, Great Britain
Edwards won an Olympic title (2000) and two world titles (1995, 2001) along with an Olympic silver (1996) and three additional World Championship medals (silver in 1997, bronze in 1993 and 1999), medalling in seven consecutive global championships in all. Like Saneyev, he also broke the world record three times, including twice in the same series at the 1995 World Championship. That final mark (18.29m/60′) has not been broken for 21 years and counting and remains the only 60-foot jump in history. Edwards also has two of the three longest jumps all-time and six of the top 15.
Christian Taylor, USA
With four global golds (2011, 2015 Worlds; 2012, 2016 Olympics), Taylor has more than any other triple jumper in history and owns the #2 mark in all-time (18.21m). He can also claim something that no one else can: an Olympic gold jumping off each foot (he won in 2012 jumping off his left leg and in 2016 jumping off his right).
Though Taylor has more Olympic titles and global titles than Edwards, Edwards deserves the slight nod as the GOAT for his remarkable nine-year stretch from 1993-2001 and his volume of top jumps (including the world record). But Taylor is still only 26 years old (Edwards won his last world title at 35) and if he can add another world title or two or break Edwards’ world record, he will likely retire as the greatest triple jumper ever.