Christian Taylor celebrates after winning gold in the triple jump at the London 2012 Olympics (© Getty Images)
Olympic triple jump champion and 2011 world champion Christian Taylor is aiming to defend his Diamond Race title in 2014.
However, the versatile athlete will also be long jumping in international competitions and recently ran the third leg on the victorious US 4x400m team at the inaugural IAAF World Relays in Nassau last weekend.
However, we caught up with him before he departed for The Bahamas and he offered his take on our work, rest and play questions.
CHRISTIAN AT WORK
What are your three favourite things about being an athlete?
Christian Taylor: One, being in shape. Even when I speak to my parents they remind me how lucky I am to be paid to keep in shape. Secondly, we get to travel the world. Many of my friends back in the US don’t even have a passport, so for me to spend time training in South Africa and living in England is a great privilege. The third thing would be the people I meet; not only the athletes, but the sponsor representatives, the meet organisers, all the people I meet on a daily basis.
What is your favourite training session?
CT: It would either be the 3x350m with six minutes rest or the two-minute drill for triple jump. The two-minute drill would be a five metre run, followed by a hop, step and jump and as soon as you land in the pit. I would then sprint back to the start and repeat. I would try to do as many of these as possible in two minutes. It is great way of focusing on technique when you are fatigued. It is a session which really helps me during the fifth and sixth rounds of competitions.
What is your least favourite training session?
CT: I don’t really enjoy the short sprints. My coach, Rana Reider, enjoys a 10m, 20m, 30m and 40m sprint session. It really wears me out. I still don’t understand how I can run 250m and feel more comfortable doing that than the shorter stuff. I guess I don’t have that quick recovery.
Who is your favourite training partner?
CT: I would say Dwight Phillips (four-time world long jump champion). This was a guy with all the medals and all the accolades, but training with him every day was a real learning curve. He would always impart a useful piece of advice like: “In five years’ time, you’ll appreciate doing those extra stretches.” Things like that.
What is your favourite type of music to train to?
CT: It depends on the day. Some days I listen to dance hall/reggae. If I want to be aggressive, I’d listen to hip hop. Before a competition, I listen to country music because it mellows me out and does not allow me to get too excited or too hyped. If I listen to something too aggressive, I’m off the wall.
CHRISTIAN AT REST
Where is your favourite place to relax?
CT: In the world, it would have be the Dominican Republic, it’s a place I’ve gone to on a post-season vacation for the past three years. I’ve had so many great memories of going there. I go to a resort on an all-inclusive deal where I can eat and drink as much as I want, and I don’t have any worries.
What is your perfect non-training day?
CT: I’m a night owl, so for me to wake up at 12.30 or 1pm is ideal. I’d then ride on my longboard to Red Robin, where I’d eat a burger and a milk shake. I’d then hang out by the beach and people watch – that’s a lot of fun. I’d then hang with friends, have dinner and maybe go to a movie.
What is your all-time favourite movie?
CT: I’m a big George Clooney fan, so probably one of the Oceans movies. It has got a bit of comedy and action. I like that mix.
Do you have a favourite meal?
CT: Jerk chicken, peas and rice.
What is your favourite drink to relax with?
CT: Mimosa (orange and champagne mix).
CHRISTIAN AT PLAY
How did your passion for longboarding start?
CT: When I first arrived at university I realised people either got around on a bike, a skateboard or walking. I first rode a bike, but my jeans used to get caught in the bike and ripped. I then saw kids around university using this long skateboard and that’s when I started longboarding. I was hooked.
How often do you ride today?
CT: Every day. I don’t have a car (in the English town of Loughborough), so that’s how I get to practise every day. The distance I travel from my home to training is about a mile.
Have you ever had any major incidents on a longboard?
CT: I used to try to treat it like a skateboard and jump over kerbs, but because the longboard is a lot longer than a skateboard it doesn’t pop up as easily and one day it went from under me and I slammed by elbow on the ground. I thought I’d almost broken my elbow. The problem was, a few hours later I had practise but if my coach found out, I knew the board would be gone, so I didn’t tell him!
Do you know of any other athletes who longboard?
CT: I know Ashton Eaton does over in Oregon. It is good to know that I’m not the only track and field member of the longboard crew.
Besides yourself and Ashton, if you could pick any other athlete out there well suited to long boarding, who would it be and why?
CT: Maybe a javelin thrower would be good. Someone like Andreas Thorkildsen because he has the surfer-style hair!
Steve Landells for the IAAF