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banner Tuesday, 7 August, 2001, 21:49 GMT 22:49 UK
Edwards: As good as ever
Jonathan Edwards strikes World Championships gold
Jonathan Edwards is not yet ready to retire
By BBC Sport Online's Tom Fordyce in Edmonton

Jonathan Edwards toasted his second World Championship gold with champagne at breakfast after admitting he had struggled with nerves during Monday night's epic final.

"I wasn't cool and relaxed out there," he said.

"I'm still beset by the same doubts.

"In the warm-up I was looking at everyone and thinking, 'He's running well,' and, 'Hmm, I don't feel too good.'


It's a quiet sense of satisfaction rather than punching the air and thinking, wow, world champion
  Jonathan Edwards
"When I fouled on that 18-footer in the second round, I was very nervous.

"That might have been my chance. I wondered if the big one had got away.

"Conditions weren't easy out there at all. The wind was changing and my calves were tight and I knew they could cramp up at any time."

Edwards lay behind Christian Olsson and Yoel Garcia going into the third round and seemed in real danger of becoming the second red-hot favourite of the day - after Marion Jones - to suffer a shock defeat.

Then he produced his biggest jump in three years, 17.92m, to recapture the title he first won six years ago.

Edwards, in fact, thinks he might have broken his own world record of 18.29m if his winning effort had come earlier in the competition.

Olsson snatches a triple jump medal in Edmonton
Olsson: May have to wait for gold
"I wouldn't have been far away," he said. "It would have been close, with a wind of 1.9ms behind me.

"I'm unlikely to do it in a run-of-the-mill Grand Prix meeting, but when you come to a big final, where everything's different, you feel anyone could go out and jump a long way.

"The pressure of knowing that drives me on. Qualifying, when it's just you trying to jump over a line, is much harder."

Edwards said his title felt very different from his first world gold in Gothenburg in 1995, the day he set his world record.

"That was my breakthrough. A lot of things were lying ahead then," he said.

"It's a quiet sense of satisfaction rather than punching the air and thinking, wow, world champion.


Physically I've been as good as ever this year so there's probably no reason why I can't carry on till 2004
  Jonathan Edwards
"I'm really tired now. I went out for ribs last night, went to bed about 0130 and didn't sleep particularly well. But it's a nice tired."

With Olympic, World and European titles, plus the biggest jump in history by far, some have wondered if Edwards, now 35, will soon hang up his spikes.

But he said he would definitely be competing at next summer's Commonwealth Games in Manchester - and did not rule out another shot at Olympic gold in Athens.

"It does bring a smile to my face that I've got the big three golds," he said.

"But statistics show that I'm half a metre ahead of everyone else, and that's a huge distance in an athletics event. I've got a big buffer.

"It depends how the young lads come through and if I slow down.

Jonathan Edwards in Sydney last year
Edwards won Olympic gold in Sydney last year
"But physically I've been as good as ever this year, so there's probably no reason why I can't carry on till 2004.

"It is a tremendous privilege to be at this stage of my career and still be able to compete on a stage like this, to showcase my talent.

"I'm running faster than I was in any previous year, and two weeks ago I lifted a personal best in a lift I've been doing for years.

"I'm fighting a battle against this ageist assumption that, once you go past 30, you should pack up.

"I'm as good as ever, and I'm thoroughly enjoying this Indian summer."

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