Olsson content with low-key debut

Olsson content with low-key debut
Wednesday 17 January 2007
After last year’s tentative will-he-won’t-he return to competition after serious injury, Sweden’s Christian Olsson, 26, made a positive early start to 2007 at an indoor competition with a difference when he took part in a ’short run-up’ Triple Jump meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden on Tuesday 16 January.

Emerging with a 16.07m pipe opener off just three jumps, Olsson professed himself happy with the experience after recording his first winter mark for three years.

“The heel hurt a bit, but that’s what happens when you haven’t done a great deal of training,” said Olsson, referring to the old injury that needed four operations to cure before he made a sensational return to the track last summer when he successfully defended his European title. Olsson’s injury stemmed from the first round of the Athens Olympics which he went on to win, making it three straight titles in a row after the 2002 European and 2003 World titles.

“I haven’t competed indoors since I set my World record,” commented the reigning Olympic champion, “so this was a bit of a lift”. It was in 2004 that Olsson leapt 17.83 in Budapest to equal Cuban Aliecer Urrutia’s 1997 mark.

Though he confessed he has jumped much further in training this winter than 16.07, he would not be drawn on whether he had the outright World record in his sights: “You can often come to grief if you go after a World record,” admitted Olsson. “But at least I’ve laid down a base for some really good results,” he said.

Part of the reason for competing in this type of meeting was so that up and coming athletes could rub shoulders with the best: “It’s fun to compete in this type of competition and I remember from when I was young how great it was for young athletes to meet the best.”

His return to action last summer resulted in almost 100 percent success, the only blemish coming in the London Grand Prix where he could only finish third. In the European Championships, after virtually securing gold with a second round 17.67 he went for the 18m-mark, but fouled four times in a row.

His first serious competition of the winter comes in Glasgow, 27 January, two days after his 27th birthday, followed by the Eurojump meeting in Gothenburg 31 January.

Michael Butcher for the IAAF