Phillips Idowu
Great Britain

  • Full name Phillips Olaosebikan Idowu
  • Birth date December 30, 1978
  • Birth place Hackney, London
  • Current age 39 years 113 days
  • Height 6 ft 4 in
Phillips Idowu leaps to the world title

Perhaps better known for his outlandish hairstyles and piercings, Phillips Idowu finally stepped out of Jonathan Edwards' shadow when he became triple jump world champion in Berlin.

A gifted all-round sportsman, Idowu was brought up on the De Beauvoir estate in Hackney and was a talented basketball player, but joined Belgrave Harriers in 1995. In 1997 he became English schools' champion.

By 2000 he was ranked in the top ten in the world, and finished sixth at the Olympic Games in Athens. At the 2001 World Championships in Canada he was well short of 17 metres and could only manage ninth place.

However, a new personal best of 17.68m was good enough for a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games, behind Edwards in front of a home crowd in Manchester. A knee injury kept him out of the whole of the 2003 season, but his return in 2004 was disappointing, failing to register a single jump in the Olympic final in Athens.

However, in March 2006 Idowu was crowned Commonwealth champion, winning with a jump of 17.45m. However, injury hindered his training for the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, and he could only manage sixth.

Going into the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Idowu was hot favourite, and full of confidence. But a season's best jump was not enough to win him the gold medal, and he had to settle for silver behind Portugal's Nelson Evora.

A new personal best of 17.73 was enough to become world champion in 2009, and after taking off from well behind the board, it could have been even better. From silver in Beijing to gold in Berlin, his medal was presented to him by none other than Jonathan Edwards.

A local boy, Idowu was one of the poster boys of London 2012, but concerns were raised over his fitness when he pulled out of the British trials and the London Grand Prix. Although he made it to London 2012, he was some way off his best - a best leap of 16.53m was not enough to propel him into the final - a performance he described as one of the worst of his career.

Career high
Becoming world champion in Berlin. Idowu leaped to a new personal best of 17.73m to take gold and get the better of the man who beat him to the Olympic gold medal in Beijing the year before.

Career low
Brought up a hop skip and a jump from the Olympic Stadium, Idowu's face was plastered over advertising hoardings in the lead up to London 2012. His preparations were disrupted by ongoing fears over his fitness and a misunderstanding with UK Athletics, and he was some way off his best as he failed to qualify for the final with a best attempt of 16.53m. "I saw my physio before today and went in pain free," Idowu said. "Conditions were not difficult but that was not me out there today. I have competed for 12 years and I can't remember when I have performed that badly."

"As a triple jumper you're kind of a show-off. There's no one next to you running the race. And it's great when you've got a whole stadium clapping - even if they're off-beat - because you know that all the eyes are on you."

"Nobody would be happier than me if he wins the Olympic title, but if he breaks my world record, I won't be happy!" Former Olympic, World and Commonwealth Champion and world record holder Jonathan Edwards

Idowu's older sister Oluyinka represented Britain in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, where she finished ninth in the long jump.


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Aug 7, 2012

Phillips Idowu shows his frustration after the triple jump

Aug 7, 2012

Phillips Idowu sprawls on landing in the triple jump

Jul 21, 2012

Phillips Idowu carries the Olympic Flame

Mar 22, 2012

British stars pose for the cameras at the Team GB Olympic kit launch

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