Phillips Idowu - Triple Jump
Born December 30, 1978 in Hackney, London, England, Phillips Olaosebikan Idowu is a triple jumper of Nigerian descent. On a four-year reign of competitive terror, Phillips won multiple championships and earned 1st place finishes in both indoor and outdoor events. As part of Team Great Britain in 2008 in Beijing, Idowu took home Olympic Silver in the triple jump event.
Although Phillips has been one of the world’s premier triple jumpers over the past few years, one of his biggest criticisms is his inconsistency. Before this most recent surge of victories, Idowu was known as a sporadic athlete, sometimes choosing to not even compete in events. But with multiple championships since 2008, these criticisms are now put to rest.
Phillips Idowu is the son of Nigerian parents. He was born and grew up in the Hackney area of East London, a rough-and-tumble locale that isn’t exactly known for producing world-class athletes. Nevertheless, Phillips went against all odds and walked a different path than many others in his neighborhood did. Idowu used sports as a way out, and this decision has paid big dividends as Phillips prepares to enter his fourth Olympics.
Throughout the early to mid 1990s, Idowu was turning heads as a sportsman in multiple sports, including American-style football and basketball. But his biggest successes came in athletics; he excelled in athletics as a junior, and after winning the English Schools Championships as a triple jumper in 1997, Idowu’s career path was set.
Ranked as one of the best triple jumpers in the world in 2000, Idowu represented Great Britain at the 2000 Olympic Games. However, he failed to win a medal, finishing in 6th place. Returning to glory the next year, Idowu would win the European Cup, only to show an overall disappointing performance at the World Championships the same year. This is where his criticisms stem from. Idowu was known as a stellar athlete, yet the model of inconsistency. He was either crushing the competition or putting forth a very lackluster effort.
After a few more ups and downs, Idowu was severely injured in 2003 – a knee injury that kept him out the entire season and also killed his chances of medaling at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Phillips was a long-shot to even make it to Athens, but after some intense rehab, Idowu was ready for competition. However, once in the final, Phillips posted three no jumps.
Two years later, in 2006, things would turn around for Phillips in a big way. He started by winning gold in the Commonwealth Games, and after a lackluster performance at the Euro Championships that year, he again claimed gold in 2007 at the European Indoor Championships.
During 2008, perhaps Idowu’s best year, he really began training and competing in a new way. He won his first world title at the IAAF World Indoor Championships, and he even broke the previous British record with a jump of 17.75m. In his most recently Olympic performance, Phillips took home Silver in Beijing in 2008.
- 2002 Commonwealth Games – Silver
- 2006 Commonwealth Games – Gold
- 2007 European Indoor Championships – Gold
- 2008 World Indoor Championships – Gold
- 2008 Olympic Games – Silver
- 2009 IIAF World Championships – Gold
- 2010 European Championships – Gold
- 2011 IIAF World Championships – Silver