On Thursday afternoon, two days before the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene, Christian Taylor made a bold prediction about his triple jump competition. “I think this will be a game-changer,” he said.

On Saturday afternoon (27), the two-time Olympic champion was true to his word, unleashing a monster jump of 18.11m to take victory, the fourth longest jump in history.

The moment he exited the pit, the 26-year-old knew it was special, saluting the crowd and thumping his chest as he awaited confirmation. In a certain sense, he had compatriot Will Claye to thank for his heroics, as one jump earlier his biggest rival had usurped him at the head of the standings.

"I need the competition," said Taylor. "I feed off of it. He pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and jump."

Taylor opened with a wind-assisted jump of 17.82m (2.5m/s) but Claye proved he would make it a close battle with his world-leading third-round effort of 17.66m. In the fourth round, Claye equalled Taylor’s mark with a wind-legal 17.82m (1.7m/s) and took the lead on countback.

Then came Taylor’s whopping 18.11m (0.8m/s), but Claye showed he was not done yet, taking to the runway in the fifth round and sailing through the air to what looked a huge jump. He dropped to his knees on the track as he awaited the figures, and when a wind-aided 18.05m (2.4m/s) flashed up, his initial reaction was disappointment.

Claye stretched to capacity on his final effort, but his mark of 17.75m was no improvement, leaving Taylor with maximum IAAF Diamond League points, a world lead, a meeting record and an IAAF Diamond League record.

"It's Hayward Field, man, there’s magic in the air always," said Taylor. "I wasn't going to waste these conditions. You just have to take advantage of it."

Taylor is naturally now thinking that Jonathan Edwards' world record of 18.29m is within his scope this season. "I want the record more than ever," he said. "Every year I say that but it really just burns in me. I love the competition and I’m just going to push for it."

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