Christian Taylor in the triple jump final at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 (AFP / Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview London, UK

Preview: men's triple jump – IAAF World Championships London 2017

In one respect at least, Christian Taylor looks set to go one step beyond Jonathan Edwards, the great British master of the triple jump. 

It remains to be seen whether the 27-year-old US athlete can use the 18.11m jump he achieved at the Prefontaine Classic IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene on 26 May as a springboard to finally eclipsing the 18.29m world record that Edwards established at the 1995 IAAF World Championships in Gothenburg. Taylor has  contested just four competitions since then (five, if you include his token no-mark appearance at the US Championships) and has ventured no farther than 17.57m.

Still, the form book would suggest that Taylor, the Olympic champion in London in 2012 and again in Rio in 2016, is poised to nudge ahead of Edwards as the most successful male triple jumper on the gold medal front at the IAAF World Championships. As things stand, both men are tied on two titles each – Edwards having prevailed in Gothenburg in 1995 and Edmonton in 2001, and Taylor in Daegu in 2011 and Beijing in 2015.

Taylor soared out to the second best mark in history, 18.21m, when he triumphed in Beijing and doubtless will be looking to uncork something similarly special as he seeks to complete a hat-trick of titles.

He has lost just twice since his last IAAF World Championships success two years ago: to compatriot Will Claye at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene in July last year (17.65m to 17.39m) and, intriguingly, to his resurgent Cuban rival Pedro Pablo Pichardo at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Lausanne on 6 July (17.60m to 17.49m).

Pichardo won't be competing in London so hence, as in Rio, the most serious threat to Taylor would appear to be Claye, who took the US title in Sacramento with 17.91m, the second best mark of the year (he jumped 18.05m at the Prefontaine Classic but with the help of a 2.5m/s following wind). Next best on the 2017 world list is a distant 17.52m by Max Hess, the 21-year-old German who claimed world indoor silver behind China’s Dong Bin in Portland last year.

Claye took Olympic silver behind Taylor in Rio and London but ‘only’ has a pair of bronze medals from the IAAF World Championships, having finished third in Deagu in 2011 and Moscow in 2013. His one global title success dates back to the 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul.

The battle for bronze this time should feature Hess, Dong (season’s best: 17.27m), Cubans Andy Diaz (17.40m) and Cristian Napoles (17.27m), US duo Chris Benard (17.48m) and Donald Scott (17.25m) and the 33-year-old Portuguese jumper Nelson Evora (17.20m), world champion in Osaka in 2007 and Olympic champion in Bejing in 2008.

Simon Turnbull for the IAAF