There’s no denying Christian Taylor is the reigning king of the triple jump. The multiple world and Olympic champion talks about performing at major champs and why it's important to stick to what you know.
Don’t change what got you there and enjoy the championship experience. Sometimes athletes can take things so seriously in an effort to make the magic happen – when all that is necessary to perform is to enjoy the moment and remember what got you there.
In America, at least, you often just need to repeat the marks you achieved at the trials to medal at the championships. You don’t need a special out of body experience. For me, I always train to be the best, whether it is at the first training session of the year or at a world championships or Diamond League final.
You are only as good as you believe you are. For me, I know when I have had moments of doubt, my performances have reflected that. When I have had moments where I felt like gold was there for the taking, that is when I have excelled.
The jump doesn’t start until the end of the runway – so learn to sprint. Speed on the runway is paramount. When I was younger, I thought my heart would get me through, but training with guys like [four-time world long jump champion] Dwight Phillips taught me to learn the importance of sprinting.
I am so lucky now to train in the Netherlands with Rana Reider and a group that contains top sprinters such as Churandy Martina [2016 European 100m champion] and Adam Gemili [2014 European 200m champion].
Rana would often tell me as an athlete I have the best seat in the house. I remember I had committed two fouls in the Olympic triple jump final at the London Games when my coach said ‘you don’t want to miss watching the 800m final’. I took time out to watch David Rudisha break the world record, which is something I’ll never forget. Earlier this season I watched Thomas Rohler throw 93.90m in Doha. I was only a few metres away. It was unreal.
[Note: Taylor recovered from his two fouls in the final to go on to win triple jump gold with 17.81m at the London Olympics].
Top tip for surviving the athletics circuit
I would say a good book, a good movie and a good hobby. For me, I enjoy reading books which help with my future. It sounds a bit random but at the moment I’m reading ‘When Sorry Isn’t Enough’. It’s cool because it is talking about different ways of apologising and depending on a person’s upbringing that could affect the way they receive an apology.
For a hobby, I really like interior design. I enjoy finding cool homes on Airbnb.
Read the labels! My sister and I were cooking at my last training camp and we accidentally cooked steak tuna instead of regular steak. My sister took the ingredients out of the Green Chef package. I thought the food tasted weird. So yes, bottom line: it is very important to read the labels.
Since I started living in Europe I wear clothes to fit. When I go back to America, my friends make fun of me because of my European style – but definitely fitted clothes is the way to go.
I love Tokyo as a city. I have probably gone back there five times in the past six years. I love the people. They are so hospitable. I love the culture; the respect for elders and nature. I love sushi, there are just so many attractions for me. I’m psyched for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics!
I would also say when you are at a city, don’t be scared to explore. In my last visit to Tokyo I was there for two weeks and for the first week I did not make one single reservation.
Do not text and drive – it is ridiculous.
Social media tip
Be mindful that what you post now can affect you later down the line. Once you have posted something it is out there forever. Please me mindful of what you post. It may seem cool at the time, but it can impact on many things in the future.
I think most women think chivalry is dead. But by opening a door for a lady, or seating my girlfriend at dinner – just a small gesture can go far. My dad instilled that belief in me. Being a gentleman can make a cool night, a really special night.