07 MAR 2004 General News

Men Triple Jump Final

Two years ago, after winning his first major senior title at the European Indoor Championships in Vienna, Sweden's Christian Olsson came home to Gothenberg two days later and presented his neighbours with the gift of a 17.80 leap in a small "welcome-back" competition.  It was only three centimetres short of the world record, and he has lived with that thought ever since.

Tonight, the obsession became a reality as the reigning world indoor and outdoor champion hopped, stepped and jumped 17.83 to equal the seven-year-old mark of Cuba's Aliecer Urrutia.

Olsson took care of the ubiquitous seventeen-metre statistic on his first jump (49 of last 50 finals) with a 17.30.  That was just to get a feel of the runway after a two-day layoff.  A 17.51 resulted from round two, but it may well have been the 17.43 from Brazil's Jadel Gregorio at the end of the second stanza which tightened up the competition and really got the Swede's adrenalin flowing.

On his third jump, Olsson gave up more than seven centimetres on his takeoff, but everything else was right, including a substantial improvement in the second phase (step) of the jump, and he gestured emotionally when the 17.83 was flashed on the scoreboard. 

The Swede took one more attempt, a fifth-round 17.45, before taking a slow lap of honour at the end.

Gregorio's "world record catalyst" jump of 17.43 remained as the silver-medal leap, as Paris runner-up Yoandri Betanzos of Cuba ended his day with 17.36 to strengthen and finalize his hold on the bronze medal which had been dangling in front of him since round three.

European under-23 champion Dmitriy Valyukevich of Belarus finished fourth at 17.22, just ahead of the man he defeated in Bydgoszcz last year, Marian Oprea of Romania, whose season-best 17.19 ended in fifth. 

Sixth went to Mykola Savolaynen of Ukraine at 16.95, far ahead of the disappointing performance of 16.62 from Russia's Danila Burkenya, who came to Budapest with a season-best 17.41 in his Samara win against a stellar world-class field.