Tornéus' monster leap suggests good shape ahead of Olympics | 28.07.2012
|Michel Tornéus is in good form ahead of London.
Despite this, former coach Anders Borgström has given Tornéus good reason to be confident about his chances in London.
Borgström has been working on a method, via video preview, of calculating the length that the jump would have been had it not been given the red flag: “His second round jump in Helsinki was, in effect, 8.52m in length.”
Borgström , who has also applied this method to the javelin and diving, is confident of its accuracy: “I’ve been working a lot with this method and it’s reasonably accurate.
“It might be out a centimeter or two, but the jump was definitely over 8.50m - it was something of a dream jump.”
A jump of that distance, had it been legal, would have placed the Swede firmly at the top of the world list, a full 17cm ahead of British jumper Greg Rutherford and the Russian Sergey Morgunov, who both jumped 8.35m earlier this year.
Tornéus heard about it when he landed in a training camp in Annecy: “I’d not heard that figure, though I knew at the time it was long when I landed and checked the mark.”
He was, however, careful to stay realistic: “You can get a little extra height when you miss the board, and the tail wind was over the legal limit.
“However it means a lot to me knowing that a jump of that distance is possible.”
Team captain Stefan Olsson was more straightforward in his assessment of the jump: “It was a monster jump.”
Despite all of this, it won’t be easy for the 26-year-old to leap his way to the top of the Olympic field.
The top 17 jumpers in the world are only separated by 13cm, ensuring that the long jump competition will be one of the most hotly contested events at the Games.
Tornéus is last on that list after achieving a new personal best of 8.22m in Kuortane, Finland, less than a week ago and in doing so finally beating the old Swedish record set by Mattias Sunneborn sixteen years ago.
“It was nice to finally beat the record, it’s something I’ve been trying to do for two years.”
Incredible, then, that he achieved this record jump when he was hardly at the top of his game: “I had just come out of a long training period and started to taper off in form.”
Now, he’s looking forward to his Olympic debut as Sweden’s biggest medal hope in athletics, though he is keen to stress that he is all too aware of how difficult it will be for him to prevail: “It’s a hornet’s nest in the long jump right now.
“I’ve beaten almost all of the athletes ahead of me in the world statistics this year, but with a qualifier to get through first, anything could happen.
“In a qualifying round you have nothing to gain but everything to lose, it’s a real challenge.”
But with his first major championship medal, bronze at the European championships in Helsinki, only weeks old, the whole of Sweden will be hoping that their biggest hope’s newfound taste for silverware will translate into Olympic gold.