Angelo Taylor Cover
The new season of IAAF Inside Athletics kicks off with Ato Boldon talking to two-time Olympic 400m hurdles champion Angelo Taylor.
Few living athletes can hold a candle to Angelo Taylor’s achievements. The American burst onto the international scene by winning 400m hurdles gold at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Eight years later he reclaimed his title in Beijing. Now aged 37, Taylor is at a stage of his career where most athletes would be prepared to call it a day. But he is not done.
His next aim is nothing short of epic. “I just want to solidify my place in history,” he tells Ato Boldon. “[If] I get three [Olympic golds] it’ll set me apart from all the 400m hurdlers before, and anyone who’s ever done it.”
No track athlete ever has won more than two titles in the same individual event, so Taylor is right to tout his target as an historical one. Even if his career ended tomorrow, his Olympic pedigree means he'd still be considered one of the finest ever to hurdle over the quarter mile distance, despite never winning an individual world championships title.
On that point, Taylor concedes that when the odd years came round he “always had something going on”. He is sore about this, but only in a way that gives him renewed drive. “I think that’s one of the biggest disappointments in my career, not getting that title. That’s my motivation,” he says.
Taylor’s chequered career saw him dumped by his sponsors. Whether you believe in redemption or not, the grind needed to return to elite status was real, and the Georgia Tech graduate achieved it. He says raising his twin sons has helped him to look at himself differently; “wanting to be a role model” to them underpins his renewed sense of purpose.
“I want to show them what it takes to be successful, that everything I’ve got, I’ve gotten through hard work,” he says. “No one has ever given it to me.”
Now pushing towards a fifth Olympic appearance, Taylor – whose best 400m flat time is 44.05 – knows that he’s “missed his window to break” world records. Yet as well as limit the body, age can enhance the mind, and running the 400m hurdles well requires good race management more than it does pure pace. For that reason you’d be a fool to discount Taylor’s chances in Rio. As he says: “I still got something left in me.”
Watch the full episode below: