The 2012 Games mark the Olympic debut of 22-year-old Christian Taylor, the youngest competitor in the triple jump finals (save for his American teammate, Will Claye).
Taylor was the 2011 world champion in the triple jump—an event in which the United States hasn't won an Olympic medal since the 1996 Games in Atlanta—and he represents the United States' best chance at winning gold in a men's track & field event.
Could there be a more pressure-filled scenario for Taylor? If so, the first-time Olympian would surely welcome it.
"I want to be the 'showtime' guy," he says. "I don't want to be the contender or a participant. I want to be the guy who steps up to the plate and goes beyond the call."
Above all, the reigning world champ wants the world to know one thing: Christian Taylor doesn't cave under pressure.
Taylor strives to command attention on the track in the same manner as Jamaican world-record holder Usain Bolt. "When Bolt steps on the track, everyone anticipates whether he will break the world record," Taylor says. "I want the same thing when I step into the stadium."
Yet, unlike Bolt and the legions of conceited sprinters, Taylor exhibits a sincere sense of modesty when speaking of his Olympic goals and desires. He doesn't boast of superior skills in the triple jump event, but rather, a will to win that pushes him beyond his limits.
Taylor is confident in his abilities, grateful for this special opportunity, and hungry to prove that he's the world's best triple jumper on the world's biggest stage, London 2012. He has the will to win from within.
Photo: Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian
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