It's go for Idowu! Triple jumper says he's ready for Games amidst injury rumours
22:13 GMT, 11 July 2012
Phillips Idowu has been spotted alive and walking without a limp. He is fit and ready to triple jump for gold at London 2012.
For 40 days and 40 nights, since his last competitive appearance, he had kept us – and Charles van Commenee, UK Athletics' head coach whose ego he loves to tweak – guessing about his injury status.
Yesterday, he boarded a river cruiser on the Thames aware of the furore his silence had created and acted as nonchalantly as you would expect from someone who has spent 33 years practising the art.
Confident: Phillips Idowu says he has let the rumour mill spin itself about his injury
So what is his medical condition 'I'm well,' he said, confirming that he will compete at Crystal Palace this weekend.
'I'm good. I'm keeping my head down and getting on with my day job. They call me the invisible man.'
His head – be it up or down – was bejewelled in his customary ironmongery: studs and rings in ears and tongue. He chewed on a piece of fluorescent gum.
'I've not mentioned anything about an injury. Nobody has heard the words come out of my mouth, or from my coach's, or from any of my team's,' he added.
'I have let the rumour mill stir itself and it has given me an opportunity to focus on my preparations for the Games, which I feel have gone really well.'
The rumour mill may have been a reference to Van Commenee himself.
Wears it well: Idowu will represent Great Britain in the triple jump
The Dutchman had said Idowu missed the Olympic trials through injury but that 'medical confidentiality' forbade him from supplying further explanation.
Then, when announcing the athletics team for the Olympics last week, Van Commenee admitted he had no idea whether the former world champion was still crocked, claiming he had been too busy to find out.
As we pointed out here, that seemed a trifle negligent considering that Idowu is among only a handful of British track-and-field gold medal prospects.
Van Commenee's ill-informed position reflected, at least in part, the fact that the two men do not speak directly but through intermediaries after a Twitter-based row last year: Idowu told his followers that he would not be taking part in the 2011 European Team Championships; Van Commenee thought it disrespectful not to have told him first; Idowu claimed he had informed UKA; Van Commenee later claimed they had spoken about the incident and made up; Idowu countered that they had not cleared the air and called Van Commenee a liar.
This sorry impasse continues, with Van Commenee of the opinion that Twitter devotees are 'clowns and attention seekers'.
Even though Idowu did not mention Van Commenee by name on the boat that he boarded at Westminster Pier, his every comment could be interpreted as an affront to his head coach's authority.
Idowu, who typically wore a lime green tracksuit as he travelled back from the World Championships in Korea last year when everyone else wore team kit, presented himself as a man who lives above Van Commenee's law.
Focused: Idowu in Daegu last year
Of his relationship with Van Commenee, Idowu said: 'That's not an issue. This year I have kept myself to myself.
'The people most important to me are my family, my representatives and my coach.
'That is the small circle of people I work with. Nobody else needs to be involved.'
So let's clear this up. Did he injure himself in his last competition, a Diamond League meet in Eugene, Oregon, on June 1
After all, he withdrew after landing awkwardly. 'It was precautionary,' he said. 'I slipped on the board – it happens. You hit the board, your foot slips and it kind of sends the fear of God through you.
'I didn't want to take any chances.'
He then withdrew from Oslo. Why, if he was not injured
'To prepare for the Games,' he replied. 'Every year I never compete in every meet I put down as scheduled.
'There are times when things are going really well and you feel like, “OK, I can take a step back” and there are times when you feel, “I may need to compete in more competitions than I expected”.'
Then he missed the trials. Why 'Precautionary.'
He added: 'There was a lot of fatigue in my system and I didn't want to jeopardise my chances at the Games by competing when I wasn't in tip-top form.
I have always said, if I am not in the best possible physical shape, then I won't compete because people pay hard-earned money to come to see me perform well.'
My guess is that he had a niggle-cum-foot injury after Eugene – a fact confirmed at the time by his people – then enjoyed keeping Van Commenee in the dark thereafter, merrily dancing in that grey area between precaution, niggle and injury.
We are happy to report he did not slip as he left the boat.