Jonathan Edwards (athlete)

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Jonathan David Edwards, CBE, (born 10 May 1966 in London) is a former British triple jumper. He is a former Olympic, Commonwealth, European and World champion, and has held the world record in the event since 1995.

Following his retirement as an athlete, Edwards has worked as an athletics commentator and presenter for BBC television. Formerly a devout Christian, he also presented episodes of the BBC Christian worship programme Songs of Praise, until he gave up these views in 2007. He is a member of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.

Contents

Education

Edwards attended West Buckland School[1] where his potential for the triple jump was spotted at an early age. He was a strong all-rounder and on leaving received the school's top award for sporting and academic excellence, the Fortescue Medal. Contemporaries with Edwards at West Buckland School included Victor Ubogu and Steve Ojomoh, both former Bath and England Rugby international players. Edwards now has a Sports Hall at West Buckland named after him; The Jonathan Edwards Sports Centre. Edwards then read Physics at Durham University, attending Van Mildert College.

Athletics career

Due to his strong Christian beliefs during his athletic career, discussed in more detail below, he initially refused to compete on Sundays,[2] but eventually decided to do so in 1993. This decision proved timely, since the qualifying round at that year's World Championships took place on a Sunday. He went on to win the bronze medal.

In his breakthrough year of 1995, Edwards produced an astonishing jump of 18.43 m (60 feet 5½ inches) at the European Cup. The leap was wind assisted and did not count for record purposes, but it was a sign of things to come as he capped an unbeaten year with a historic gold medal performance at the World Championships, in which he broke the world record twice in the same meet. On his first jump, he became the first man to legally pass the 18-metre barrier (18.16 m/59 feet 7 inches). That record lasted for about 20 minutes. His second jump of 18.29 m made him the first to jump 60 feet. During his commentary for the 2008 Summer Olympics, Edwards observed that during the 1995 World Championships, he felt as if 'he could jump as far as he needed to'. Later the same year Edwards became the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

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