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'Hackney-born jumper can cap career with London gold'
Last Updated: 27/07/11 3:36pm
Edwards: wary of Tamgho
Phillips Idowu has come on leaps and bounds since the 2008 Olympics and can cap his career by claiming gold in London 2012, says Jonathan Edwards.
"Idowu's from the East end, so it would be the perfect end to his career to finish as Olympic champion in his own back yard."
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Former triple jumper Edwards, who won gold in Sydney 2000, believes Idowu has every chance of topping the podium next year and adding to his 2009 World Championships and 2010 European Championship titles.
"Since Beijing in 2008 where he won the silver medal, I think he has developed into the world's best triple jumper," Edwards told Sky Sports News HD. "You know that when the Championships come around, Phillips will jump his very, very best.
"He's got [to beat] this young French guy, Teddy Tamgho, and that's a really interesting battle between the two of them.
"Unfortunately, Tamgho has just broken his ankle in a competition so he is out for the rest of the year but should be back for 2012.
"It's kind of like the young pretender up against the established performer because I would imagine this will be Phillips' last Olympics.
"He's from the East end, so it would be the perfect end to his career to finish as Olympic champion in his own back yard."
Edwards had to settle for silver in the 1996 games in Atlanta, but went one better in Sydney four years later with a winning jump of 17.71m.
"I competed in Sydney on the same night that Cathy Freeman won her gold medal - she was the darling of the Australian public," he recalled.
"I have to say that the night that I won my medal, no-one was interested in me because they were all looking at Cathy.
"I remember trying to get the crowd to clap in the third round and nobody did apart from a few British supporters because they were all focusing on Cathy Freeman.
"So to see the response of the Australian public in that stadium to her, but particularly when she got her medal - they sang the national anthem in the most incredible way and then they continued to sing her name to the tune of Australian Fair after the anthem had finished.
"Remembering it now, I get goose-bumps; for her it must have been like nothing she could ever have ever imagined and that is what it will be like in London 2012 because I think there is a huge groundswell of excitement about the Games."
Over a million people applied for tickets to watch the 100m final and Edwards, like many, can't wait to see a certain World and Olympic champion run in Stratford.
"There's only one name - Usain Bolt," he said. "Although he has come after me, I know him and I interview him regularly, I feel like a fan.
"I've never seen his like before on an athletics track. It's not just that he runs so fast, it's the way that he does it.
"You see him on the start line of an Olympic or World Championship final and he's doing that body-popping thing, and he's laughing and joking.
"I - like most athletes I know - was petrified before an event; the bigger it got, the worse the nerves were. Yet he doesn't seem to care and still produces this performance.
"To have the ability to be able to enjoy the gift that you have and to celebrate it on the biggest stage is something which is almost unique."