Tech’s Taylor primed for third gold

If all goes as planned, Monday at 8:45 p.m. London time, Angelo Taylor will be coiling himself into his starting block at Olympic Stadium and taking his mark. Edwin Moses will be observing from a television studio not far from the track.

The two men, who live only miles apart in Atlanta, are bound by mutual respect and a shared place in Olympic history.  Monday night, over the course of 400 meters and 10 three-foot hurdles, Taylor will attempt to distinguish himself from the great Moses by becoming the first hurdler to win three Olympic golds in the 400-meter hurdles.

“I want to do something no one’s ever done before,” Taylor said before leaving for London. “That’s my motivation.”

Taylor, a graduate of Southwest DeKalb High and Georgia Tech, would have to advance through Friday’s first-round heats and Saturday’s semifinals to reach the final, where his main competition figures to be Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson and Great Britain’s David Greene. Aside from Taylor, the only other Olympians to twice win the 400 hurdles are Glenn Davis and Moses, the Morehouse College grad who won gold in 1976 and 1984. Moses, in London to commentate for British network Sky Sports, said he will “absolutely” be pulling for Taylor to finish first.

“If he pulls that off, it’ll be a fantastic achievement,” he said.

With golds from the 2000 and 2008 Olympics in the bag, Taylor has approached the pinnacle with discipline and attention to detail that pays tribute to the meticulous Moses. Workouts at the Emory University track have been followed by ice treatment. He has had weekly sessions with a chiropractor and massage therapist. He has shed about 13 pounds, Taylor’s brother and coach Corey said, to 185.

“When it comes to training for the Olympics, he turns into another person,” Corey said.

At this point in Taylor’s career, it’s by necessity. Taylor, 33, is the second oldest in the 400 hurdles field, most of whom are in their early 20’s. Taylor is, in fact, the same age that Moses was when he attempted to win his third gold, at the 1988 Games in Seoul. (He finished third.)

“I know how body parts begin to hurt,” Moses said. “Recovery, it takes a lot longer. It’s one of the more difficult events in track and field, if not the toughest event with the most skill sets (required) to stay and be a world champion, Olympic champion multiple times.”

Taylor has been close to obsessive with staying injury-free.

“One thing I know being an athlete, you only have a short span to do it, a short time to be a high-level athlete,” Taylor said. His approach is “just wanting to make the most of it when I’m doing it.”

A third hurdles gold would cement his standing in the event. Moses’ place is unmatched. In addition to his two golds, he broke the world record four times and famously won 122 races in a row between 1977 and 1987. His scientific approach to training helped revolutionize the sport.

Said Taylor, “He’s definitely one of the reasons why I run the 400 hurdles.”

Taylor has studied Moses’ career and races. His strategy to start powerfully out of the blocks may have its critics, but at least one noted proponent.

“I’m like, Dang, did they not ever see Edwin Moses run?” Taylor said. “If you want to be the best, you’ve got to emulate the best. He’s the best ever.”

Taylor, in fact, has grown a beard in Moses’ honor. Prior to leaving for London, it had not quite achieved the fullness of Moses’ mane in his competitive days.

“It’s supposed to be a little scraggly,” Moses said with approval. “He’s a gladiator. He’s not a fashionista.”

With an eye on history, Taylor saw his London mission likewise. While this may well be his final Olympics, he did not have plans to absorb the experience.

“I’m there to compete,” he said. “I’m there to do a job.”

It’s one that won’t be complete unless it ends with a gold medal dangling around his neck and a solitary place in Olympic history.

28 comments Add your comment

BLT

August 2nd, 2012
8:02 pm

Good luck Angelo. Get the gold medal.

A. Bishop

August 2nd, 2012
8:18 pm

Good luck, bring it home for USA!

www

August 2nd, 2012
10:47 pm

too bad edwin moses (and the rest of the US team) weren’t allowed to compete in the 1980 olympic games in moscow.

the olympics should be above politics.

www

August 2nd, 2012
10:48 pm

oh, and good luck to angelo taylor in london!

Bryan

August 2nd, 2012
11:41 pm

Good luck Angelo from a fellow DeKalb County HS and GT graduate! I’ll be cheering like crazy for you. You can do it!

Hjacket

August 3rd, 2012
9:07 am

There are so called Dawg fans who had no idea who Resse Hoffa was but this GT grad knows who Angelo Taylor is. Go Jackets!

Polly Meriwether-Lewis

August 3rd, 2012
9:18 am

Be Blessed Angelo! Neighbor of Brookglen Family.

yeller bug

August 3rd, 2012
9:57 am

Agree www on the olympics being above politics. T’was another bad decision by a Democratic president—something we’ve seen alot of these past 3.5 years.

SWD Parent past and present

August 3rd, 2012
11:32 am

Good luck in London Angelo!! SWD represent!!

Supersize that order, mutt

August 3rd, 2012
11:32 am

Angelo about to run his first prelim on NBC now

PantherPride

August 3rd, 2012
11:37 am

Cheering for you Angelo! Bring home the Gold!! Fellow SWD grad and track runner….Go Get It!!

Supersize that order, mutt

August 3rd, 2012
11:37 am

Angelo won his heat easily

Panther Pride

August 3rd, 2012
11:43 am

That is how we do it! You Go Taylor!

albanyfan

August 3rd, 2012
11:46 am

Angelo is originally from Albany, just sayin!

Supersize that order, mutt

August 3rd, 2012
11:46 am

All 3 Americans made the semis

Supersize that order, mutt

August 3rd, 2012
11:53 am

All 3 American women also made the semis

TOO Hyped!!

August 3rd, 2012
12:46 pm

I LOVE THE OLYMPICS!!!

Old Boy

August 3rd, 2012
1:01 pm

This Dawg is definitely rooting for that Jacket.

Supersize that order, mutt

August 3rd, 2012
1:02 pm

@ Old Boy, and this Jacket is definitely rooting for Reese Hoffa

dagnabit

August 3rd, 2012
1:18 pm

Yeller Bug: If “mitt happens” wins in november, you’re going to get to see what bad decisions really are.

Supersize that order, mutt

August 3rd, 2012
1:22 pm

couldn’t possibly be any worse that any of the decisions currently being made.

Begin_and_end

August 3rd, 2012
1:24 pm

Wow, I remember seeing him in person in 1996 while he was in high school. In addition to winning the 400 (Georgia h.s. doesn’t have 400 hurdles and I don’t remember if he ran the 300 hurdles), he also triple jumped 49 feet. In fact, I asked him “you trying for 50?”. He said yes. I remember telling an official “he has a future in track and field waiting for him”. It’s so surreal for me to see his amazing career winding down.

[...] is seeking his third Olympic gold, which would make him the first hurdler to ever win three golds in the 400 [...]

Kenali

August 3rd, 2012
1:35 pm

Angelo is cute as hell-Bro I hope you do it–best of luck

Robin M

August 3rd, 2012
5:33 pm

There’s no doubt that Edwin Moses would have won three consecutive golds but for the ill-advised boycott of the 1980 games. If Taylor wins this year, the three-peat will be incredible but I for one still think Edwin goes down as the all-time best. Talk to me again in four years to see if Taylor is still running well enough to land on the podium as Edwin did in his final games – the ones that should have been his 4th rather than his third.

stuart

August 3rd, 2012
6:05 pm

Good luck and God speed!

go jackets

August 4th, 2012
8:09 am

Bring it Angelo

Michelle

August 4th, 2012
10:54 am

Praying you take home the gold Angelo!!! Good luck from an old SWD friend!
Michelle