25 October, 2018

Taylor vs Pichardo: The 18m monster jumps

  • © Hasse/Anders Sjögren

  • @ Victah Sailer

  • © Gladys Chai von der Laage

Pedro Pablo Pichardo won his first ever Diamond Trophy in Brussels earlier this year, finally beating six-time winner Christian Taylor to the title. Pichardo and Taylor's rivalry goes back several years, and it started with quite a bang at Doha's Qatar Sports Club in May 2015.

It was almost certainly the best triple jump competition in Diamond League history, and some might even consider it the best in athletics history. The clash between Pedro Pablo Pichardo and Christian Taylor at the Doha Diamond League meeting in 2015 was certainly a sight to behold. 

The night started on a sad note, as then World Champion Teddy Tamgho succumbed to injury early on, but Taylor and Pichardo went on to deliver a truly remarkable competition. 

Taylor cleared 18 metres for the first time with his final jump, yet 18.04m was not enough for him to beat Pichardo, who had chalked up 18.06m earlier in the competition. 

It was a record-breaking evening. Both men cleared the 18m mark for the first time, and Pichardo broke a Diamond League and an area record. Taylor, meanwhile, could console himself with the fact that nobody had ever jumped as far as him and not won a competition. 

It also kickstarted a fascinating battle for the Diamond Trophy. Pichardo would go on to win the next two meetings, and looked certain to claim the title before Taylor rallied later in the season. A win in Lausanne spurred him on to some fine later season performances, and he eventually snatched the Trophy in Brussels. 

Taylor would go on to win the title in both 2016 and 2017, and would also pick up a few Olympic and World Championship medals in the same period. In May 2017, he finally bested Pichardo's 18.06m in the Diamond League, setting a new Diamond League record with 18.11m in Eugene. 

Odds on favourite to win a seventh Trophy this year and equal Renaud Lavillenie's record of seven titles, Taylor once again met his match in Pichardo last summer, however, as the Portuguese beat him again and, three years on from that seminal battle, wrested the Diamond Trophy from Taylor's grasp.