Former Florida Gators Christian Taylor and Will Claye dominated the finals of the Men’s Triple Jump at the 2012 London Olympics on Thursday, finishing first and second in the event, respectively, to take home gold and silver for the United States.
Taylor, 22, the reigning world champion and gold medal favorite going into the event, became the youngest jumper in 100 years to win Olympic gold in the Triple Jump.
He almost did not have the opportunity to be the first American since 1996 to capture gold in the event, however, after committing fouls on his first two introductory jumps.
Taylor hit a mark of 17.15m on his third attempt to cement his place in the top eight and qualify for three more jumps. He wasted little time showcasing his dominance, hitting a seasonal best of 17.81m on his fourth attempt, a mark that would win him the gold medal.
Claye, the world indoor champion in the event who already took home bronze on Saturday in the Men’s Long Jump, won silver with a mark of 17.62m on his fourth jump. He led through the first three jumps with a second attempt of 17.54m, a mark which only he and Taylor eclipsed over the duration of the event.
The medals won by Taylor and Claye mark the 11th and 12th by former Gators in these Olympics. Representatives of Florida now have three golds, four silvers and five bronzes over the course of the games with a handful of events remaining.
Taylor’s medal is also the first individual track & field gold in program history. Taylor and Claye’s medals are just the second and third field medals in school history.
For recaps of their performances, a full schedule (including updated events), live stream links and a Gator Nation vs. The World medal count, be sure to check out OGGOA’s Live Coverage of the 2012 London Olympics.
Photo Credit: Gregory Bull/Associated Press