Olympic and world triple jump champion Christian Taylor looks set to miss the Tokyo Olympics after tearing an Achilles tendon just two months before the Games start, with his coach ruling him out for the rest of the year.
The American, who won gold at the London 2012 Games and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, was injured during a meeting in Ostrava in the Czech Republic on Wednesday.
"It was his right Achilles and a complete rupture. We got him to a surgeon in Germany and got it repaired this morning," Rana Reider, Taylor’s long time coach, told Reuters.
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"The surgery went well and they were able to repair it. It was a clean break and a clean surgery," Reider said. "He was pretty happy with it (the way the surgery went)."
Asked if he thought Taylor would be back this year, Reider said: "I don’t think so."
Austrian hurdler Beate Schrott, Taylor's fiance, revealed the news on Twitter.
"Christian ruptured his Achilles during the competition in Ostrava yesterday. It is heartbreaking. Really," she wrote.
"I spent quite some time trying to find the right words, but I am giving up. I don’t have words for this situation.
"I know he'll get through this," she said. "He will fight his way back."
The US athletics federation wished Taylor a speedy recovery without confirming the injury.
"Wishing back-to-back Olympic champion and four-time World champion Christian Taylor a speed recovery," the USATF said on
The Tokyo Olympic Games are due to start on July 23 after being delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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There are two ways to look at this - the first is that track and field will miss one of its biggest stars at Tokyo 2020. Taylor has utterly dominated triple jump at the highest level, and although he has not broken Jonathan Edwards' world record, he has arguably been the 'Usain Bolt of field events' in the past decade.
It is a shame, then, that he will miss his chance to equal Viktor Seneyev's Olympic record of three gold medals - but as he will only be 34 in Paris, he will surely have an opportunity to go again in three years time.
Taylor's rupture was "clean", according to his coach, which simplified the surgery and should speed up recovery. He has come back from adversity before - when he was forced to switch take-off legs due to a serious knee issue.
On the flip side, this has thrown the triple jump competition wide open. Taylor had won every major global medal since 2013, and now there will be a new Olympic champion.
He had led the World Athletics rankings ahead of fellow American Will Claye, Burkina Faso’s Hugues Fabrice Zango and Cuban-turned-Portuguese Hugues Fabrice Zango - all three will be the main contenders to take glory in Japan.
With additional reporting from Reuters
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