Teesside Tower to take leap of faith

Chris Tomlinson is back from his Italian wedding but, unlike Wayne Rooney, he has a top European event to attend. By Simon Turnbull

It has been two weeks now since Chris Tomlinson's Italian wedding, and the world indoor long jump silver-medallist is still waiting for the big photoshoot pay-off. "No, there was no £2.5 million photo deal with the Evening Gazette," the 6ft 6in tower of a Teessider said, referring to the local paper for himself and Lucia Rovardi, with whom he walked down the aisle in a hilltop town south of Rome on 29 May. "I think there might be a one-penny deal with Athletics Weekly on the cards, but that's about it."

Still, Tomlinson is savouring the priceless memory of having spliced the nuptials in Arpino – not because it was some fashionable celebrity wedding spot but because it happened to be from where his bride's family originated before they settled in Middlesbrough (and became one of the country's leading manufacturers of ice cream cones and wafers) and before she emerged as a West End actress (currently starring as Maria in Buddy at the Duchess Theatre).

"It wasn't a Wayne and Colleen £5m job," he laughed. "It was an unbelievable experience: 150 North-easterners in this beautiful little place just south of Rome."

It is certainly not a Wayne Rooney job now for Tomlinson. Unlike the Manchester United footballer, the British long jump record-holder is getting ready to represent his country in a European competition, his own honeymoon having been postponed until the end of the Olympic track season. Next weekend, Tomlinson jumps for Britain at the European Cup in Annecy.

It was in the pretty French town that the Britain men's track-and- field team last lifted the European Cup, in June 2002. Tomlinson was one of eight British winners that weekend and is one of only two survivors in the men's team, alongside Marlon Devonish, who won the 200m in the Parc des Sports six years ago and contests the same event this time.

"That was the first big competition I won," Tomlinson said. "I was just a 20-year-old and it was a great moment. If you look back at that team we had, it just shows the turnaround in British athletics. We had Jonathan Edwards, Colin Jackson, Steve Backley – and those are three major names. We had Dwain Chambers, too..."

Chambers was the team captain who ended up being dunked into the steeplechase water jump in celebration of victory, one hand clutching the trophy, the other a Union flag. It was not until the following year that it emerged that Chambers had been waiving the rules, with the revelation that he had been fuelled to victory in the 100m in Annecy, and elsewhere in 2002 and 2003, by the designer steroid tetrahydrogestrinone. It was only in 2006 that the points he earned were formally docked from the official score, retrospectively relegating the British men from first to fourth in the revised 2002 European Cup result. "Really?" Tomlinson enquired on Friday. "I didn't know that."

It would be good to think that Britannia could rule the Continental waves again in Annecy, legitimately so this time. For Tomlinson, there is the need to make an individual mark next weekend, with the Beijing Olympics seven weeks away and with the other leading contenders for long jump medals already into an impressive competitive groove.

Four of Tomlinson's rivals have already jumped farther than the 8.29m British record he set at Bad Langensalza in Germany last year, most notably the Panamanian Irving Saladino, who leapt 8.73m at the FBK Games at Hengelo, Holland three weeks ago, the fourth longest jump at sea level. Tomlinson finished sixth with 7.85m, five days before his wedding, though he improved to a wind-assisted 8.09m at Bad Langensalza last week. "Sala-dino is head and shoulders above everyone else at the moment," he said. "But behind him we can all fight our case. I would notput any of the others ahead of myself – not significantly so."

It was only in March that Tomlinson came within touching distance of a global crown, finishing 2cm behind Godfrey Moko-ena of South Africa as silver medallist at the World Indoor Championships in Valencia. On Friday he was at Gateshead International Stadium promoting the Aviva British Grand Prix that takes place at the Tyneside track on Sunday 31 August, seven days after the conclusion of Olympic business in Beijing. How much would it mean to him to have a medal to parade at a homecoming on North-east soil?

"To go to the Olympics and win a medal, and then come back in front of your friends and families and supporters..." Tomlinson said, pondering the prospect. "Ah, it would mean everything."

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
Life and Style
fashion
News
i100
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Environment
The vaquita is being killed by fishermen trying to catch the totoaba fish, which is prized in China
environmentJust 97 of the 'world's cutest' sea mammals remain
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst- Insurance

Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst - Insurance ...

Recruitment Genius: Property Manager

£25000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent, growing Sales...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Multi-skilled graphic designer ...

Austen Lloyd: Court of Protection Solicitor

£30000 - £50000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: Court of Protection Solic...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?