Olympic triple jump: Christian Taylor retains Olympic title at Rio 2016

Olympic champ rescues his career
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Story highlights

  • Christian Taylor wins triple jump gold
  • Taylor successfully defends title he won in 2012 Games

(CNN)Rio 2016 has been an Olympic Games for breaking records -- and Christian Taylor has joined the party.

Taylor became the first American since 1904 to retain his triple jump title, edging out compatriot Will Claye to win a second consecutive gold medal.
    Myer Prinstein was the last to accomplish the feat, winning triple jump gold in Paris 1900 and then successfully defending his crown in St. Louis 1904.
    "The job is done," Taylor said after claiming gold. "God is so good and I never thought my first jump would be the gold medal jump but I stayed strong and ready.
    "I'm really grateful Dong Bin (Chinese jumper) put a good early jump out there because that got me going and really woke me up."
    Taylor's winning leap, a whopping 17.86 meters, came in the first round, putting the rest of the field under huge pressure.
    It was also a case of deja vu in the silver medal spot, as Claye made it a repeat of the US one-two from London 2012 with a personal best jump of 17.76 meters.

    Love is in the air

    And to celebrate his second consecutive Olympic silver medal, Claye added to the love at Rio 2016 by proposing to his girlfriend Queen Harrison, a former Olympian herself, in the stands.
    "Yeah I saw that (Claye's engagement)," Taylor said. "I don't know how he got over there, there was a very large gap (between the grandstand and the track).
    "I know we are jumpers but that's quite risky. But to witness that also was very special. I don't know if I would be able to compete with a proposal on my mind.
    "But he's a good man. I'm glad he could make the most of this moment. This is the Olympic Games and you know that's what it's about, cherishing every moment of it."
    Taylor won gold with a jump of 17.86m.
    Brazil rugby player Isidora Cerullo, Chinese diver He Zi and British walker Tom Bosworth have all received or given marriage proposals during Rio 2016.
    British dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin was also asked by partner Dean Golding to marry him after she won gold on Monday, though they were already engaged after an initial proposal in 2009.
    "I don't think he believed it was going to happen, so I think he has made it so public that now I am certainly going to do it," Dujardin told reporters.
    Although Taylor jumped 18.21m to win the World Championship last year, he was unable to gain more sand on Briton Jonathan Edwards' 21-year record of 18.29m.
    "Unfortunately I've been at that almost mark for a long time," Taylor said of his world record attempts. "I have so much respect for Jonathan at that distance. I think now the fire burns even stronger because I know it's in the tank."
    The 2016 Indoor World Championship winner, China's Dong, claimed the bronze medal.
    Taylor had won trple jump gold in 2012.

    Excruciating pain

    Taylor's achievement is all the more incredible, as he was forced to change his take off leg after experiencing excruciating pain in his left knee shortly after winning gold at London 2012.
    It was a change akin to swapping writing hands, according to his coach Rana Reider.
    "All my life I've jumped from my left foot -- that was my takeoff -- and even winning the 2012 Olympics, that was the foot I jumped from, so the idea of switching feet was pretty crazy," he told CNN in 2014.
    "You have to almost use a different side of the brain. My left leg was muscle memory, I could do that day in, day out, and now to do that off my right, it took a little while to get over it."