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Olsson narrowly misses world record in triumphant homecoming
Ed Gordon for the IAAF
5 March 2002 – Gothenburg, Sweden - Göteborg dusted off the Scandinavium hall for its first athletics meeting in that venerable building since the 1984 European Indoor Championships on Tuesday night.  And the city's native son Christian Olsson added to the storied sporting history of the edifice by triple jumping 17.80 to break the eight-year-old European record of 17.77 by Russia's Leonid Voloshin. 

Olsson's jump was only three centimetres away from Aliecer Urrutia's world record of 17.83, set in 1997. 

It seems that nothing is beyond Olsson's talents these days.  Two days after taking the European Indoor title--and with a heavy schedule of photo shoots, interviews, and press conferences after returning to Sweden on Monday--the 22-year-old still had energy left for even more superlatives.

After a lead-off foul, the Swede bounded 17.46 before hitting his record jump in the third round.

"I felt that the beginning of my approach on the 17.46 jump was a little tentative," analyzed Olsson, "so I intentionally started much faster on the 17.80 jump."  He admitted being slightly hampered by the shortness of the runway, which was less than the allowed 45 metres.  Still, he obviously made the necessary compensation for this handicap.

As is the case with all jumpers, the sensation of a superior jump was immediate.  "I already knew when I put my foot down for the last time on the runway that it was going to be a good one.  I could see the pit closer to me than ever before."

Olsson's coach Yannick Tregaro felt that Olsson's effort was "not absolutely perfect", but he was pleased that his protegé "kept as much speed as possible throughout all parts of the jump."

Olsson appeared to get maximum benefit from his extension on the final phase of the jump.  And with such a performance, the talk naturally turned to the possibility of an 18-metre jump sometime this year.

Nonetheless, he avoided stating any specific performance goals for the outdoor season. 

"Even after my good indoor season, I still feel that I am primarily an outdoor jumper.  I feel that I can still jump very far.  Eighteen metres?  That's still a really long jump."

So far as his ambitions in Munich at the European Championships are concerned, Olsson remained similarly elusive. 

"My main goal is  to remind Jonathan Edwards that there is someone else in the competition." 

Olsson is also an accomplished high jumper, having cleared a indoor personal-best of 2.28 at a competition last month.

The EuroJump competition was meant as a salute to the Swedish athletes after their superb showing in Vienna.

In the men's high jump, it was a reversal of fortunes for the two Swedes, as Stefan Holm won the competition at 2.27 as European champ Staffan Strand could only solve the tricky jump apron for a second-place 2.20. 

Vienna women's high jump winner Marina Kuptsova took that event with 1.95, and had several respectable attempts at 2.00 before the competition was finished.  She will conclude her season on Saturday at the international match in Glasgow. 

Jeff Hartwig handled 5.80 without a problem to win the men's pole vault, as European silver medallist Patrik Kristiansson--also a "son of Göteborg"--was second at 5.60, as Lars Börgeling was nudged down to third at the same height on misses. 

RESULTS

MEN
60 HURDLES:  1. Kronberg (SWE) 7.72;  2. Olijar (LAT) 7.72;  3. Jallai (EST) 8.08;  4. Blaschke (SWE) 8.14;  5. Sonck (FIN) 8.23;  6. Acson (SWE) 8.68.

HIGH JUMP:  1. Holm (SWE) 2.27;  2. Strand (SWE) 2.20;  3. Sokolovskiy (UKR) and Moroz (BLR) 2.20;  5. Rhoden (GER) 2.15;  6. Brayko (RUS) 2.10.

POLE VAULT:  1. Hartwig (USA) 5.80;  2. Kristiansson (SWE) 5.60;  3. Börgeling (GER) 5.60;  4. Jansson (SWE) 5.45;  5. Latvala (FIN) 5.30;  6. Jeng (SWE) 5.30.  No height:  Ecker (GER) and Hysong (USA) at 5.60.

TRIPLE JUMP:  1. Olsson (SWE) 17.80 (European record; world leader) [x - 17.46 - 17.80 - x - p - p];  2. Aseledchenko (RUS) 16.52;  3. Spasovkhodskiy (RUS) 16.43;  4. Taillepierre (FRA) 16.15;  5. Andersson (SWE) 16.12;  6. Sergeyev (RUS) 15.99. 

WOMEN
HIGH JUMP:  1. Kuptsova (RUS) 1.95;  2. Kaliturina (RUS) 1.91;  3. Györffy (HUN) and Lyakhova (RUS) 1.87;  5. Astafei (GER) 1.87;  6. Mattas (FIN) 1.76.

POLE VAULT:  1. Persson (SWE) 4.05;  2. Flosadottir (ISL) 4.05;  3. Lundin (SWE) 3.20;  4. Carlred (SWE) 3.05.