BEIJING (Reuters) - - American Christian Taylor produced the second-longest triple jump in history as he soared 18.21 meters to take gold in a high-quality world championship competition on Thursday.
In a week of outstanding head-to-heads in the Bird's Nest Stadium, the men's triple jump final always promised to be among the best and it did not disappoint. Taylor and Cuba's Pedro Pichardo came to Beijing having between them produced the 10 best marks of 2015, with the Cuban leading the way with 18.08m.
Taylor delivered the coup de grace with his sixth and final jump, landing just short of the 18.29m world record that has stood to Britain's Jonathan Edwards since the 1995 world championships.
Jumping last, Pichardo too had his best jump in the sixth round but his silver medal-winning 17.73 seemed modest compared to what the packed stadium had just witnessed. The bronze medal was also won by a last-round jump as Nelson Evora of Portugal, the Olympic gold medalist in the Bird's Nest Stadium seven years ago, cleared 17.52 to snatch third place from Omar Craddock, the American who had moved into medal positions with a 17.37 effort in the penultimate round.
Taylor, 25, from North Carolina, who had previously won the world title in 2011, said: "It was a great fight."
"When you're that close to a record, it just makes you even hungrier for the next time you compete. "This is all just gearing up to Rio."
(Reporting by Steven Downes, editing by Mitch Phillips)