Taylor plans to retake top spot
HE CAME HOME to give words of inspiration but Christian Taylor has a different message for the rest of the world.
The Olympic gold medal triple jumper says he is hungrier than ever to prove he is still the world’s best after meekly surrendering his World Championship title in Russia just two months ago.
Taylor issued the challenge yesterday at the Grantley Adams International Airport while returning to his parents’ homeland for the first time since winning Olympic gold last year.
“This only fuels the fire because sometimes when you’re on top you take it easy, you forget that you have to keep that fire going,” said the American-born 23-year-old of losing his title to Frenchman Teddy Tamgho.
“You forget that hunger, so now that someone’s taken me off that podium it’s a mistake on their part because now I’m more hungry than ever.
“So it’s about sending that message that it’s not over and I’m going to put a big mark out there [because] it’s not a game for me, this is my life and it’s something I want to be the best at,” he added.
His comments came as part of a serious introspection following a very disappointing showing at the World Championships, where the US-based Taylor didn’t even medal despite coming in as the defending champ.
Coming off an impressive 17.96 metres – the tenth-best mark of all time – in the 2012 Olympics, Taylor barely mustered 17.36 in qualifying before settling for 17.20 in the final to finish fourth.
“I almost felt like people were just going to bow down instead of just going in there and saying I need to take this for myself,” admitted Taylor.
“The drive wasn’t there and maybe I was a bit too confident, but I won’t make that mistake again.”
But the road back to the top won’t be an easy one, as Tamgho signalled his intent to the rest of the field by winning with the third best measurement in history of 18.04 metres to become only the third man to break the 18-metre barrier.
“I’m a student of the sport so it was huge to see something like that; unfortunately I didn’t want it to be done on me,” said Taylor of the performance which put Tamgho along retired jumpers Jonathan Edwards and Kenny Harrison.
“But it’s still a part of history and you have to sit back and just appreciate what it really means. At least I know what’s out there now and I know what I need to do, it’s just about getting back on that horse.”
Taylor, whose four-day trip comes under the auspices of the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA), is set to visit the BOA museum today before giving motivational talks at Harrison College, Lester Vaughan and Hilda Skeene Primary.
“My biggest message to them will be sacrifice because even at a young age you have to make certain decisions and you have to take different paths in life to reach your final goal,” Taylor revealed.
“I’ve had to leave my family, leave the comfort of my home. To reach this level you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.”