Idowu set to jump out of the shadows and leap for triple jump gold
22:05 GMT, 6 August 2012
.olympicStats1038148 background:url(http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/07_04/bckg308x110.jpg) no-repeat top left; display:block; width:308px; height:110px; padding:0; font-weight:bold
.olympicStats1038148 ul width:98%; padding:2px; list-style:none; position:relative; top:86px; left:6px; font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif
.olympicStats1038148 ul li a padding:0 2px; font-size:11px; color:#0cac0c; text-decoration:none
.olympicStats1038148 a:hover text-decoration:underline
.olympicStats1038148 ul li float:left; list-style-type: none; padding: 0;
LIVE RESULTS |
EVENT SCHEDULE |
Nobody would ever describe Phillips Idowu as shy and retiring but he has retreated so far from the public eye in the Olympic build-up that there was more likelihood of meeting the Dalai Lama on the triple jump runway.
On Monday the mystery of the missing triple jumper ended when he walked into the Athletes’ Village, allegedly looking the picture of good health, and asked for a bed for the night.
On Tuesday, when he launches himself down a runway in competition for the first time in a little over nine weeks, we shall have a better idea whether looks deceive. Nothing reveals the condition of an athlete’s body like a hop, step and jump.
Hidden talent: Idowu has been off the radar for weeks
The British Olympic Association’s medical adviser, having talked to Idowu’s personal physician, is convinced that he is fit to do himself justice in today’s qualifying competition and not embarrass Team GB.
‘He’s set to compete. All is good,’ said a BOA spokesman.
All Confidential medical records exchanged between doctors cannot tell the full story of a man’s ability to put enormous stress on heels, knees and hips by landing more than 15 times his own body weight on to them in the step phase.
Idowu has not done that in competition since June 2. He has not completed a flat-out training session for three weeks. And he will go into the competition on a wing and a prayer, hoping that sports tape on his upper leg will see him through.
Everybody has their favourite theory about Idowu’s refusal to have anything to do with the brouhaha of a home Olympic Games. Being injured is the most prevalent and cannot be denied.
Playing mind games with rivals is the theory of world champion Christian Taylor, as an attempt to fly at them under the radar now they have written him off in their minds.
Is he injury free Idowu fitness has been a cause for concern
Showing the finger to his bete noire, the team’s chief coach Charles van Commenee (right), is another. The two have not talked in a year.
Idowu has spoken only through the medium of Twitter. He says he has imposed a media blackout on himself for weeks and so knew nothing of the controversy over his absence until last Saturday. He confessed to surprise that his movements caused so much interest.
After all, he pointed out, he has to keep his daily whereabouts known for doping purposes ‘so it’s impossible to completely disappear’.
His statement added: ‘The appropriate people can contact me with ease. There is no story here at all.’
That may be his way of seeing it but when the most recognisable man in British athletics, with his dyed hair and facial piercings, makes himself so scarce that his head coach describes him as a ‘missing person’, it is a story.
Star attraction: Idowu was one of Great Britain's pre-Olympic medal hopes
The facts we have at our disposal to help resolve the mystery of why he turned himself into a recluse are the confirmation that he ended a training session prematurely three weeks ago because of pain in his thigh and back and that he has not trained with his personal coach Aston Moore subsequently.
But could he still come out of the Games in his native city with a medal at least
He has only to jump 17.10 metres today to qualify for the final. He has jumped 17.81 at his best and 17.31 in the abbreviated season he has had this summer. A single jump could be enough.
Then it is anybody’s guess as to what he could do with one single do-or-die jump through the pain barrier in Thursday’s final. Nobody questions Idowu’s physical power and mental resilience. He would jump through a wall to win at these Games. So do not dismiss the possibility easily.
American Taylor is an outstanding opponent, the world champion, and if he ever hits his stride pattern perfectly a serious threat to Jonathan Edwards’s world record. But Taylor is almost alone in that category.
Idowu, like Greg Rutherford in the long jump, may not have to be at his very best to come away with something.