Olympic Moments: No 2 Jonathan Edwards (2000 triple jump)

Jonathan Edwards: 'The overriding emotion was not of happiness but relief'

 

It was 8.10pm before I finally took to the track for the final of the triple jump at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. For the entire day, I'd been trying to kill time – speaking to people at home, having a snooze... anything I could do, really. I'd never have thought that training as a youngster at West Buckland School, in Devon, would have led to this moment. But here I was.

There was a pressure on me in 2000 because I knew in all probability, at the age of 34, it would be my last chance to win gold. This did tighten the screw a little for me because I knew that if I didn't do it then, I never would.

Building up to the big moment was excruciating and nerve-wracking, but for some reason as soon as I actually got on the track, it was fine.

I felt in good shape and throughout the event I had it in my mind that whatever anybody else jumped, I could go further. I just knew it. I was the world record holder. I was the first man to pass the 18-metre mark. I had set it twice at the World Championships in Gothenburg five years earlier, first with 18.16m and then 20 minutes later with 18.29m. I knew I would do what I needed to do.

My winning jump came in the third round. I remember standing on the line and this feeling came over me that this was going to be the one. If you look at the footage you can see I give a little smile. Cuba's Yoel Garcia recorded 17.47m, Denis Kapustin leapt to 17.46m, but they never really came close to my third-round jump of 17.71m.

I was so emotional after the final, which is strange because I'm not normally like that. However, if I'm totally honest the overriding emotion wasn't one of happiness but of relief. In fact, there was no great joy at all. Because of what had gone on before, because people were expecting me to become the champion, the win just created this huge release because, suddenly, I had done it.

And, just as importantly for me, I didn't have to deal with the question of "What went wrong", like I did in Atlanta in '96. Back than I had to settle for silver – Kenny Harrison, of the United States, won with a leap of 18.09m. In 2000 I hadn't won a global title for five years. I was the favourite, but then I had been the favourite for the last four or five years. And this was the Olympics, there had been that extra tension to come away with a gold medal

And now, at last, it was job done, because I had finished what I wanted to achieve. In fact, I had achieved more than I ever thought I would when I started out learning the long jump and the triple jump. I was a world record holder and an Olympic champion.

At the time, I was inspired by faith. It was the bedrock of my life. It was a time of intense stress and it focused my mind. Once I retired, I began to ask questions I'd never asked. But that is part of my journey and part of the Olympic win, which has brought me so much more than just a medal.

Jonathan Edwards will be part of the BBC commentary team for this year's Games.

Britain's greatest triple jumper in numbers

2003 Announces his decision to retire after that year's World Championships in Paris, a decision he says was influenced by God.

18.29 World record jump in metres at the 1995 World Championships

17 The number of years his world record has remained unbroken.

2 Amount of times he beat his own world record in 1995 in Gothenburg.

This series is being run in conjunction with Richard House Children's Hospice, which is based in the Olympic borough of Newham. It caters for children with life-limiting, life-threatening and complex healthcare conditions. To find out more and to vote for your favourite British Olympic moment, visit www.facebook.com/richardhousech

Suggested Topics
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little