Olympic Men’s Triple Jump — It’s PPP All The Way

Portugal’s Pedro Pablo Pichardo (is that 4 P’s?) started his dominance in the qualifying round. (ANDREW McCLANAHAN/PHOTO RUN)

THE OUTDOOR LIST LEADER coming in was Pedro Pablo Pichardo; the overall topper was Hugues Fabrice Zango with his indoor WR 59-3½ (18.07). Zango was also ahead in 17.50 (57-5)-plus meets 6–3 and was thus accorded narrow favorite’s status on our formchart.

But Tokyo was all Pichardo, starting in the qualifying round, where his booming 58-1¼ (17.71) was history’s longest-ever non-final, beating Christian Olsson’s 58-½ (17.68) from Athens ’04.

Behind triple-P, 4 jumpers exceeded the auto-qualifier of 55-11¼ (17.05), headed by Turkey’s Necati Er (56-2½/17.13) and China’s Yaming Zhu (56-1¾/17.11). Americans Donald Scott and Will Claye both made the final but Chris Benard fell short. Surprisingly only scraping into the final with 55-2¾ (16.83) for the last spot was Zango.

Claye opened the final with a solid 56-4¾ (17.19), which led until Pichardo’s opening jump of 57-9½ (17.61) 5 jumpers later. Donald Scott then briefly moved into 3rd with 56-3¼ (17.15), but was overtaken by Algeria’s Yasser Triki, who leaped 56-9¼ (17.30).

Round 2 saw Claye foul and Zhu produce a 57-1½ (17.41) to go into 2nd. Pichardo again spanned 57-9½ (17.61), and Triki improved to 57-2 (17.42) to take back the silver spot.

The back and forth nature of the event (see chart) was emphasized in the third stanza by Claye’s 57-2¾ (17.44), his best of the year, taking over 2nd, the same place he ended up in the last two Games. (Continued below)


first 3 rounds
* = progression of the leading jump; ¶ = athlete’s best of the day
Claye 17.19* f 17.44¶
Dallavalle 16.62 16.85¶ 16.74
Zhu 16.63 17.41 17.11
Ihemeje f 16.52¶ 16.04
Nápoles f 16.63¶ f
Pichardo 17.61* 17.61 17.98¶
Raffin f f f
Scott 17.15 f 16.86
Fang 16.95 16.22 16.53
Zango 15.91 16.83 17.47¶
Triki 17.30 17.42 17.40
Er 16.84 15.27 17.25¶
rounds 4–5
Fang 17.01¶ 14.60
Scott 17.18¶ 16.79
Er p f
Zhu 17.16 17.57¶
Triki 17.08 17.43¶
Claye 16.69 17.04
Zango f 17.31
Pichardo f p
last round
Fang 15.94
Scott 16.95
Er f
Triki 17.10
Claye 17.36
Zango 17.43
Zhu 15.02
Pichardo f

Pichardo, however, then put the gold out of reach with his 59-0 (17.98) with segments of 21-3¼/17-6¼/20-2½ (6.48/5.34/6.16). It was the second-best legal jump in Olympic history and a Portuguese Record, though short of his 59-3 (18.06) PR from ’15 when he was still a Cuban.

Zango, languishing in 9th with 55-2¾ (16.83), then produced his best jump of the day — 57-3¾ (17.47) to take a turn in the runner-up spot.

There were no jumps affecting medal positions in round 4, though Scott improved to 56-4½ (17.18), and China’s No 2 Yaoqing Fang improved to 55-9¾ (17.01).

In the penultimate round his countryman Zhu jumped a PR 57-7¾ (17.57) with the strongest wind of the day (+1.7) to take a firm grip on the silver. Triki, with his third 57 foot jump of the competition, increased his new Algerian record to 57-2¼ (17.43) without improving from 5th.

Claye’s 56-11½ (17.36) and Zango’s 57-2¼ (17.43) were the best jumps of an anticlimactic final sequence, which saw Pichardo round out the competition with a foul of around 58-6 (c17.80).

Said Pichardo “It was always one of my dreams to win the Olympic gold. This is what I have been doing since I was 6 years old. I feel a huge sense of happiness and I still have plenty of dreams ahead of me.” At 28, he may still have chances to reach Jonathan Edwards’ WR of 60-¼ (18.29), though it will be a reach when considering his best Tokyo jump measured 59-1½ (18.02) from toe to heel.

Coached by his father Jorge, he had been selected to jump for Cuba in Rio, but a hairline fracture put paid to that possibility. At odds with a federation who wanted him to train with a different coach, Pichardo and his dad left Cuba for Portugal the next year.

For the other medalists, feelings were mixed, ranging from Zhu’s happy “Today I reached my personal best twice and I was very satisfied. It was a good competition given that I did not have the chance to attend many competitions beforehand, so I’m very glad to have this medal” to Zango’s “It’s not the medal I wanted but it’s good for Burkina Faso and it’s historic.”

The competition clearly missed the presence of injured 2-time gold medalist Christian Taylor, but benefited from the presence of Claye, whose U.S.-leading 57-2¾ (17.44) was excellent in view of the ruptured Achilles he had suffered in ’19.


MEN’S TRIPLE JUMP RESULTS

(August 05) (temperature 82F/28C; humidity 58%)

(winds ranged from +1.7 to –0.7)

1. Pedro Pablo Pichardo (Por) 59-0 (17.98) NR (out WL) (x, =20 W)

(57-9½, 57-9½, 59-0, f, p, f) (17.61, 17.61, 17.98, f, p, f);

2. Yaming Zhu (Chn) 57-7¾ (17.57) PR

(54-6¾, 57-1½, 56-1¾, 56-3¾, 57-7¾, 49-3½) (16.63, 17.41, 17.11, 17.16, 17.57, 15.02);

3. Hugues Fabrice Zango (BF) 57-3¾ (17.47)

(52-2½, 55-2¾, 57-3¾, f, 56-9½, 57-2¼) (15.91, 16.83, 17.47, f, 17.31, 17.43);

4. Will Claye (US) 57-2¾ (17.44) (AL)

(56-4¾, f, 57-2¾, 54-9¼, 55-11, 56-11½) (17.19, f, 17.44, 16.69, 17.04, 17.36);

5. Yasser Triki (Alg) 57-2¼ (17.43) NR

(56-9¼, 57-2, 57-1, 56-½, 57-2¼, 56-1¼) (17.30, 17.42, 17.40, 17.08, 17.43, 17.10);

6. Necati Er (Tur) 56-7¼ (17.25)

(55-3, 50-1¼, 56-7¼, p, f, f) (16.84, 15.27, 17.25, p, f, f);

7. Donald Scott (US) 56-4½ (17.18)

(56-3¼, f, 55-3¾, 56-4½, 55-1, 55-7½) (17.15, f, 16.86, 17.18, 16.79, 16.95);

8. Yaoqing Fang (Chn) 55-9¾ (17.01)

(55-7½, 53-2¾, 54-2¾, 55-9¾, 47-10¾, 52-3¾) (16.95, 16.22, 16.53, 17.01, 14.60, 15.94);

9. Andrea Dallavalle (Ita) 55-3½ (16.85)

(54-6½, 55-3½, 54-11¼) (16.62, 16.85, 16.74);

10. Cristian Atanay Nápoles (Cub) 54-6¾ (16.63)

(f, 54-6¾, f) (f, 16.63, f);

11. Emmanuel Ihemeje (Ita) 54-2½ (16.52)

(f, 54-2½, 52-7½) (f, 16.52, 16.04);

… 3f—Melvin Raffin (Fra).

QUALIFYING (August 03; auto-qualifier 55-11¼/17.05)

Qualifiers: Pichardo 58-1¼ (17.71) (best-ever qualifying mark), Er 56-2½ (17.13), Zhu 56-1¾ (17.11), Nápoles 56-½ (17.08), Triki 55-11¼ (17.05), Scott 55-9¾ (17.01), Dallavalle 55-9 (16.99), Claye 55-5¾ (16.91), Ihemeje 55-4¾ (16.88), Fang 55-3 (16.84), Raffin 55-2¾ (16.83), Zango 55-2¾ (16.83);

Non-qualifiers: Tobia Bocchi (Ita) 55-¾ (16.78), Ruiting Wu (Chn) 54-10¾ (16.73), Nazim Babayev (Aze) 54-10¼ (16.72), Tiago Pereira (Por) 54-10 (16.71), Max Heß (Ger) 54-9¼ (16.69), Chris Benard (US) 54-5¼ (16.59), Benjamin Compaoré (Fra) 54-5¼ (16.59), Mateus Daniel de Sá (Bra) 54-1¼ (16.49), Levon Aghasyan (Arm) 53-10½ (16.42), Ben Williams (GB) 53-5¾ (16.30), Almir dos Santos (Bra) 53-4½ (16.27), Carey McLeod (Jam) 52-6½ (16.01), Pablo Torrijos (Spa) 52-¾ (15.87), Alexsandro Melo (Bra) 51-4¼ (15.65), Nelson Évora (Por) 50-6 (15.39);… nm(f, p, p)—Ruslan Kurbanov (Uzb) & Dimítrios Tsiámis (Gre);… 3f—Lasha Gulelauri (Geo), Jean-Marc Pontvianne (Fra). ◻︎

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