London Olympics Preview: The Triple Jump

The triple jump features contenders from both ends of the age spectrum. Established stars will be pitted against young and equally talented upstarts. The event will also feature Britain’s top hopes for Olympic glory.

Photo from Nigel Chadwick

Women’s Triple Jump

The composition of the podium in 2012 will be a lot different from that four years ago. The old guard had passed the baton to the new.

The top contenders for the Olympic title feature three athletes. Cuba’s Yargelis Savigne, twice World champion, holds the most experience. Then there’s Olga Rypakova Ольга Сергеевна Рыпакова, the Asian record holder and the 2010 World indoor champion. Ukraine’s Olha Saladuha (Ольга Саладуха), as the reigning World champion from Daegu, has the momentum and psychological advantage of being the current outdoor titlist.

   

Rypakova (L), Savigne (C), and Saladuha (R). (Photos from Erik van Leeuwen)

Colombia’s Caterine Ibargüen streaked to a world-leading mark of 14.95m last April, albeit at altitude. Yamilé Aldama, the 39-year old Cuban-born Briton, is the oldest amongst the field and is the most experienced.

Aldama (15.29m, 2003), Savigne (15.28m, 2007), and Rypakova (15.25m, 2010) are all members of the elite 15 meter club – and are perched high up the all-time list. Ibarguen (14.99A, 2011) and Saladuha (14.98m, 2011) are mere centimeters from breaking the coveted barrier.

Taking into account the recency and quality of personal bests, Ibarguen heads the cast. But then again, she has limited experience in the world’s highest stage. Considering the depth of the field, seeing multiple athletes go beyond 15 meters seem plausible. It’s one thing to perform well at a minor competition, and another to display excellence at the summit of sport. The resurgent Aldama, fresh from winning the World indoor title in Istanbul, might not possess the spring in her legs to compete head-to-head with an in-form Savigne, Rypakova and Saladuha.

Saladuha (14.75m) holds a small, 2cm lead over Rypakova (14.73m) in the 2012 top list. Savigne (14.35m), however, is not even in the top five this year. Despite her advanced age, Aldama (14.65m), might still have a few tricks under her sleeve.

With these facts in mind, Rypakova is my bet to win Olympic gold. The Kazakh is capable of making big jumps, and had done so at a considerably recent time (Doha World Indoors). Once she gets her rhythm going, Rypakova could triumph over the classy field.

Top Three Predictions

Gold: Olga Rypakova

Silver: Yargelis Savinge/Olga Saladuha

Bronze:  Olga Saladuha/Yamilé Aldama

Men’s Triple Jump

The 34-year old Phillips Idowu, the 2008 Beijing Olympics silver medalist, would be pitted against the young troika of Teddy Tamgho, Christian Taylor, and Will Claye. Tamgho, the World indoor record holder, is high up the outdoor all-time list with a best mark of 17.98m. Christian Taylor is two centimeters behind the Frenchman, with his 17.96m best from Daegu last year. Idowu’s lifetime best of 17.81m, however, is superior to Claye’s 17.50m. But then again, the other half of the American triple jumping duo had hopped, stepped and skipped 17.70m this year, en route to winning the World Indoor title in Istanbul.

Note: Tamgho has ended his 2012 season – and his Olympic campaign – due to an ankle injury.

   

Idowu (L), Taylor (C), and Claye (R). (Photos from Erik van Leeuwen)

The other contenders for a spot on the podium are the Cuban trio of Alexis Copello, Arnie David Giralt, and Yoandri Betanzos. The defending Olympic champion, Portugal’s Nelson Évora, has discovered some semblance of his old form, as he placed fifth (17.35m) in Daegu.

Taylor is the 2012 world leader with 17.62m from the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene. Russia’s Lyukman Adams Люкман Адамс (17.53m)and Cuba’s Osviel Hernández (17.49m) round up the next two spots, followed by Claye (17.48m). Idowu has a season’s best of 17.31m.

Idowu is my pick for the triple jump gold, due to the considerable depth of his experience. He is in peak form and has shown marked consistency. The 2009 World champion grew up in Hackney, one of the host boroughs of the London Olympics. To compete in one’s own backyard could give Idowu the decisive boost to complete the only major title missing from his collection.

The competition has the makings of a classic, with two near-18 meter jumpers figuring in the clash. Tamgho, however, had just emerged from a six-month lay-off after reportedly brawling with a female athlete. It remains to be seen how this incident has affected the Frenchman’s focus and preparations. Taylor and Claye, are relatively new at the international championship level. But then again, their youthful zest – and considerably impressive stat sheet (especially Taylor’s) – are potent combinations.

Top Three Predictions

Gold: Phillips Idowu

Silver: Christian Taylor

Bronze: Will Claye/Teddy Tamgho

Sources:

2008 Beijing Olympics Results

2011 World Championships Results

2009 World Championships Results

2007 World Championships Results

2012 World Indoor Championships Results

2010 World Indoor Championships Results

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One response to “London Olympics Preview: The Triple Jump

  1. Pingback: Links to Olympic Event Reviews and my predictions « Pinoy Athletics

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