So that's another chunk of gleaming gold for Phillips Idowu to display in his sparkling, presumably bulging trophy cabinet. Maybe not.
"I keep my medals in a sock drawer," the great British triple jumper said yesterday, the morning after he had hopped, stepped and jumped to victory in the European Championships final. "The trophies are in the attic."
It must be a pretty big sock drawer. In the past three years alone Idowu has won world outdoor, world indoor, European indoor and European outdoor golds, plus Olympic silver. From farther back, he also has Commonwealth gold and silver. And they are only the prizes he has earned on the international stage.
In terms of major outdoor titles, Idowu has won three out of four now: world, European and Commonwealth. The only item missing is Olympic gold. The Belgrave Harrier is 31, 10 years the senior of the emerging young force of the triple jump, Frenchman Teddy Tamgho, whose challenge he managed to repel in the Montjuic Olympic Stadium on Thursday. Idowu will be 33 when the 2012 Olympics come around in his home town. It will be his last chance to complete the set.
Would he be satisfied to hang up his spiked shoes without an Olympic gold? "No," Idowu said. "I'm grateful and I'm happy for everything I've won. If I felt like I could retire satisfied, I'd retire now. There'd be no point in me competing anymore. I have other forms of motivation. If money motivated me, you'd see me at every Diamond League competition. I'm not motivated by that. The major championships are my main motivation. That's the reason I compete in the sport: to win title and medals. All that financial stuff is of no interest to me.
"I want to be able to retire, pass away, and know that my kids are going to have an Olympic gold medal, a world indoor and outdoor gold medal, a European indoor and outdoor gold medal. I want to leave a legacy for my two kids, so they can look back and say, 'Dad was good at what he did'. They can tell their kids, 'Grandad was good at what he did.'
"They can also tell them about the background I came from. It will inspire them to know that regardless of how difficult life may be at times, you can still make the best of yourself and be the best in the world."
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