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Olsson wins men's triple jump

Bill Barclay in Athens | August 23, 2004 01:57 IST

Skipping Swede Christian Olsson added Olympic gold to his world championship title with a convincing victory in the men's triple jump on Sunday.

The 24-year-old Olsson, a strong favourite before the final, leapt 17.79 metres, a Swedish outdoor record, with his second effort to claim a comfortable victory.

Marian Oprea of Romania took the silver with 17.55 and Danila Burkenya of Russia snatched the bronze with 17.48, one centimetre clear of Cuban Yoandri Betanzos.

After a final marred by some chaotic judging, Olsson grabbed a Swedish flag and indulged in a joyous lap of honour. His gold came minutes after compatriot Stefan Holm had won the high jump gold and merely added to the ecstasy of the noisy Swedish contingent in the packed Olympic stadium.

"It's the jackpot for Sweden," Olsson told reporters. "I have achieved what everybody wants to achieve in his career. I am overjoyed."

After a fine opening effort of 17.69, Olsson surpassed the 17.72 he jumped in Paris at last year's world championships with his second effort and his 24-cm winning margin amply illustrated his superiority over the field.

The Swede passed on his final jump but four of his five hop-skip-and-jump efforts into the pit were greater than the second-placed Romanian's best. Oprea, 22, recorded his 17.55 with his first jump.

Burkenya did not impress with his first three efforts but reeled off three fine jumps of 17.45, 17.48 and 17.47 to sneak the bronze from 2003 world championships silver medallist Betanzos, who had leapt 17.47 with his second jump.

FOUL CONFUSION

The final was marred by several confused no-jump calls involving both British competitor Phillips Idowu and Olsson.

Idowu's second jump, like his first, was called a foul. But after he queried the call the judges changed their mind and decided he had not over-stepped the board. However, by then the pit had been raked and so the effort, which looked modest, could not be measured.

After a delay the 25-year-old Briton was allowed to take his second jump again, only to over-step the board again, this time clearly.

On the very next jump, Olsson's third, the no-jump judge waved his red flag instantly but then changed his mind and the Swede's effort of 17.69 was allowed to stand.

Idowu, sporting dyed red hair, has a personal best of 17.68 and was carrying British hopes following the retirement of 2000 Olympic champion Jonathan Edwards.

But he completed a miserable night's work by no-jumping his third effort, meaning he was eliminated with only the top eight allowed to take their final three jumps.


Athens 2004: The Complete Coverage

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