24th December, 2010
Thirty-three-year-old American Dwight Phillips wasnâ€™t at the top of the Long Jump world in 2007-2008, but his return to form in 2009 was particularlyÂ convincing with an 8.74m personal best and a third World title in Berlin.
In 2010 Phillips was in form from the start winning his first meet in Baie Mahault with a good 8.32m opener. Phillips competed 12 times during the seasonÂ winning 10 and placing second in the remaining two. An 8.46m seasonâ€™s best in Monaco was the world leader and only a miracle winning jump at the EuropeanÂ Championships a bit later denied Phillips the best mark of the season. The American went on to win in London, ZÃ¼rich and the Continental Cup in Split and wasÂ the clear number one in the event in 2010.
That the 26-year-old Christian Reif would top the world list was a big shock. The German, who was fifth at the World Indoor Championships in Doha, came toÂ Barcelona having already jumped an 8.27m personal best. But life in Catalunya wasnâ€™t so easy as the top European only had a 7.79m result after two rounds ofÂ qualification. But facing elimination from the final Reif answered with a monster jump equalling his 8.27m personal best and it wasnâ€™t just that the resultÂ came at an important moment, but the fact that it came behind the board.
In the final Reif again faced the same situation with just a 7.87m after two rounds which would not have been for the last three rounds, and again Reif hit aÂ perfect jump when he needed to, hitting the board better this time while adding a huge 20cm to his personal best with a world leading 8.47m leap.Â Interestingly that was it for the German – he competed four more times and while placings were OK, the results were nowhere near the Barcelona mark.
Australian Fabrice Lapierre started the outdoor season strongly with a wind aided 8.78m winning the Australian Champs in April after taking the World IndoorÂ title. Later on the 27-year-old got some good wins including Shanghai and the Commonwealth Games.
The United States is the number one in this event with 13 athletes in the world top 100. Russia had seven for second and China six for third place.