Gearing up for a record leap

Athletics

jumping jacks Jonathan Edwards (left) with Teddy Tamgho, who is tipped to break the former’s world triple jump record. Jonathan Edwards never goes near a sandpit these days, so busy is he on London's 2012 Olympic organising committee, but he cannot help scanning the horizon for threats to his triple jump world record.

The Englishman, who won Olympic gold in Sydney, still owns the longest triple jump in history — the 18.29 metre monster he produced to win the 1995 world championships in Gothenburg — but he has identified the man he feels can eclipse his mark.

That man is Frenchman Teddy Tamgho, the world indoor record holder, and Edwards believes next year's London Olympics could be where the record changes hands.
“It's nice being a world record holder and I would like the record to hold in London,” Edwards, whose boyish looks remain despite his greying hair, said at the launch of London's 40 million pound ($65.6 million) programme of test events.

“I know it's going to get broken eventually and yeah, I think it's possible in London and would be fitting in a way. Who can do it? This young Frenchman Teddy Tamgho looks really talented and there are similarities between him and myself. He is quick across the ground like me and slim and I think that's the kind of athlete that will break it.

“The recent trend has been for big tall guys. Phillips Idowu is a big lad, as was Christian Olsson before him. But Tamgho is lighter and agile and has that speed across the ground.
“He won the European and world indoors, both in (indoor) world records and he's jumped just less than 18 metres and is a huge talent,” Edwards added.

“I guess you could say I'm still the model for a triple jumper as I'm world record holder but then if someone comes along who's six foot six with huge thighs and breaks it then that will probably change.”

Edwards is now on the LOCOG board and as chairman of the athletes' committee, he is relishing the months ahead as the building phase of London 2012 ends and the rehearsals begin for next year's sporting showpiece.  “At the moment my lifestyle doesn't allow it, but that can come another time,” BBC pundit Edwards said when asked if one day he might find himself in or around the sandpit again.

“On balance I prefer to be where I am now (helping organise 2012) than competing myself.”

The London Prepares phase will feature 42 events, 26 venues, 10,000 volunteers, 8,000 athletes and will give 150,000 paying fans a taste of what is to come.

An international invitational basketball tournament and a UCI World Cup BMX event will be the first competitive sports to take place in the Olympic Park in August with 3,000 tickets available for each, priced between 10 and 35 pounds.

Also in August some of the world's top beach volleyball teams will sample the Horse Guards Parade venue with 3,000 tonnes of sand, transforming one of London's most famous landmarks before being put back in storage for a year.

“This will not be like a mini-Olympics as these events will not take place over 19 days and they are more about planning,” LOCOG chief executive Paul Deighton told a media briefing.

“Although our venues won't be dressed in their Games finery, a number of events will give the public a chance to see some world-class sporting action ahead of next year.

  “These events are our opportunity to try out our new venues, test new technology and equipment and walk our extended teams through their roles and responsibilities.”
“We do not expect to get everything right and if we did I would be slightly unhappy.

“We are going to be testing very thoroughly and diligently and learning from mistakes, put them in to our plans so that we can deliver what we need to deliver.”

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