MONTREUIL, FRANCE (AFP) - American triple jump legend Christian Taylor said his time out with a ruptured Achilles tendon had allowed him to rediscover his love for jumping just in time for the world championships in July.
Taylor, a double Olympic champion, suffered the rupture in Ostrava, the Czech Republic, just over a year ago, but is confident he has made a positive rehabilitation on what is one of the worst injuries a jumper could sustain.
"It's maybe the best thing, or second best thing, that has happened in my career, I've really grown so much from this," said the 31-year-old.
"The joy of track I've found again. To rediscover what I'm doing this for is for me the greatest joy.
"Now I get to start over and jump in a sand box and there's no better job."
Taylor, who owns the second longest triple jump in history (18.21m) behind Jonathan Edwards' world record of 18.29m set in 1995, is a headline draw for the meet in Montreuil, France, on Thursday (June 2).
The four-time world champion said he had viewed the entire Tokyo Summer Olympics last year.
"I watched it and used it as motivation," Taylor said of the Tokyo Games, adding that he synchronised his training times to simulate "being there with them".
Turning to his abrupt termination of a 10-year association with coach Rana Reider following a positive doping test by training mate Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria, Taylor said: "I never want to be around this."
It also came to light that Reider was facing a probe by the US Centre for SafeSport over multiple complaints of sexual misconduct.
"I cannot stand by this. It was the last straw for me," said Taylor, who in 2019 established the "Athletics Association", an organisation of around 1,000 professional track and field athletes around the world that advocates for athlete rights.