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It's gold for Christian Taylor in triple jump

6:25 AM, Aug 10, 2012   |    comments
  • Christian Taylor (USA) celebrates winning the gold in the men's trip jump final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
  • hristian Taylor (USA) bounds an automatic qualifying mark of 56-5 3/4 (17.21m) for the top mark in the mens triple jump qualifying during the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium.
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LONDON -- It's the brotherhood of the traveling jumpers.

Christian Taylor and Will Claye yet again went 1-2 in the triple jump at a major track meet Thursday, this time the Olympics. 

They did the same at the 2011 NCAA Championships, 2011 U.S. Championships and this year's U.S. Olympic Trials.  They reversed the order with Claye winning at this year's World Indoor Championships after going 1-3 (Taylor in first) at last year's World Outdoor Championships.

Essentially, the event is their domain with everyone else vying for bronze, which Italy's 35-year-old Fabrizio Donato took here.

"Anybody who has brothers knows it's one of the biggest rivalries you can have," Claye said. "It pushes you do to things you've never done before."

Like become the first man to win triple jump and long jump medals in the same Olympics since Japan's Naoto Tajima in 1936.  Claye, 21, of Phoenix is the ninth ever to manage that horizontal jumps podium double and first American since 1904.

"I don't think anybody here was around in that era," said Claye, who won the long jump bronze Saturday. "It's history. I hope I can encourage kids to do what I'm doing now."

Claye protested a foul on his opening jump, then fell to his knees in prayer after taking the lead with 57 feet, 6 ½ inches on his second try.

Taylor, 22, fouled while trying to go big on his first two tries then came up with 56-3 ¼ on his third try to make the cut from 12 to eight.  Then he uncorked a season best 58-5 ¼ on his fourth jump that stood up for the win even though Claye improved to 57-9 ¾.

"I knew I needed to get a mark in," Taylor said. "I was really going for it at the beginning, and I had some very good jumps."

The medals are the first for the United States in men's triple jump since Kenny Harrison's gold in 1996. Mike Conley and Charles Simpkins went 1-2 in 1992.

"Mission accomplished," Taylor said. "We're getting people to talk about the triple jump again."

"We don't get the recognition we deserve," Claye said.  "We're called sprinters with attitude. Christian and I are bringing more attention back to the jumps back to how it was when Mike Conley and those guys were jumping.  We're trying to do even better."


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