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Taylor wants to jump for Barbados

Christian Taylor and Jim Wedderburn looking at the spoils of their Olympic labour at the BOA office. (Pictures by Kenmore Bynoe.) Olympic triple jump gold medallist Christian Taylor (right) showing off his hardware to shopper Bernadette Clarke and her grandson Josiah at Cave Shepherd yesterday morning.

By Mike King | Wed, October 16, 2013 - 12:03 AM

Christian Taylor has won Olympic triple jump gold for the United States. Now he is hoping he can do that for Barbados in 2020.

Taylor, who is on a five-day holiday here during which he will visit four schools, told the MIDWEEK NATION yesterday that he has not given up hope of competing on behalf of Barbados, the birthplace of his parents Ian and Stephanie, both of whom hail from St Philip.

“Barbados is my roots, my blood. I wanted to represent this country before and it is unfortunate that it didn’t work out. I don’t know all the small details that went into it but we were trying to get dual citizenship but I am looking at 2020.

“That’s possible; that’s the goal. I would like to compete for this country. We will do whatever we can to work on it and see who we need to see.

“I am 23 now and triple jumpers are usually in their prime between 27 and 32. Jonathan Edwards was 29 when he broke the world record in 1995, so in 2020 I would be at my prime and obviously I would want to represent this country at my best,” he said.

Taylor toured the island’s leading department store Cave Shepherd yesterday morning and met directors John Williams, Maureen Davis and Richard Simpson, along with a host of shoppers and well-wishers.

“This is a better reception than I had in the United States. It makes you feel that you are truly at home. I know my father did a lot of things to set things up but its just been nothing but warmth.

“A year later you don’t expect a reception like this. You forget that the Olympic fires go for four years, maybe even a life time, so its great that  I can share this moment. Great that I can share this medal and that people see that it is real.

“It is nice to see faces light up when they hold it and feel it. You go through an entire lifetime even me, as I didn’t dream I would be here today.

“I have just been truly blessed that I can share my experiences with everyone,” he said.

He later visited the museum of the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) where he and 1960 Olympic 4 x 400 metre-relay bronze medallist Jim Wedderburn posed with their medals.

BOA president Steve Stoute presented Taylor and father Ian with BOA ties, and mother Stephanie with a scarf.

Bahamians Leevan Sands (2008) and Frank Rutherford (1992) have captured Olympic bronze medals in the triple jump, but the rest of the Caribbean has found it tough to make an impact in the event.

Taylor thinks that lack of financial resources will continue to make it hard for tiny Barbados.

“In Barbados, the resources are difficult to come by now compared to what we have in the United States and even the Bahamas. When you don’t have the stadiums we have, it is going to be difficult to produce top-class athletes.

“In Florida where I live, there is a track every two miles. When you have such facilities available and the large crowds that come with them, it encourages kids to come out and perform.

“My city is probably the same size as Barbados. Obviously with more numbers you are going to have more chances of people doing well,” he said.

Taylor acknowledged that he would have to join the small band of triple jumpers who have leapt 18 metres if he wanted to strike gold again in international competition.

“I think I have an 18-metre leap in my legs. That fourth place at this year’s World Championships was a wake-up call. I can do much better and jump much further.

“I don’t want to be silver, I don’t want to be bronze. I was brought up that if I am going to do something, be the best at it, no matter what it is. Moscow was a wake-up call for me to get back on that horse and ride as quickly as I can,” he said.

He will give motivational talks at Hilda Skeene Primary this morning and The Lester Vaughan School in the afternoon.

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