29 november, 2018

Caterine Ibargüen: Record Breaker

  • © Philippe Fitte

Caterine Ibargüen reaffirmed her status as a Diamond League legend last summer, winning the Diamond Trophy in both the triple jump and the long jump. The Colombian has long been dominant in the triple, and in 2014, she enjoyed her finest hour on the circuit with a stellar performance in Monaco.

In September, Caterine Ibargüen did what no other athlete had done before her and won two Diamond Trophies in the space of two days, wrapping up the long jump title in Brussels just 24 hours after regaining her triple jump crown in Zürich. 

It is in the triple jump, of course, that the Colombian has made her name as a legend of track and field, and she has dominated the Diamond League as few other athletes have in recent years. With the exception of 2017, Ibargüen has got her hands on the Diamond Trophy every single year since she first won it in 2013. 

She has also broken records. There was a 34-competition long winning streak which stretched over four years before it was finally ended by Olga Rypakova in Birmingham in 2016. And then there was the 15.31 in Monaco. 

In 2014, at the height of Ibargüen's invincibility, she headed to Herculis a firm favourite to snare another victory and take another step towards the Diamond Trophy. Yet few would have foreseen the aplomb with which she did so. 

After five rounds, Ibargüen had her back to the wall, languishing in second with just one jump remaining. Yet as so often before and since, pressure brought the best out of the Colombian champion. A determined, even slightly affronted scowl etched onto her face, she steamed down the runway and soared into the pit well clear of the 15 metre mark. 

Her celebratory dance soon gave way into more uncontrolled celebrations, a quick punch of the air, and a bullish roar. 15.31 had spoken for itself. Ibargüen, the indomitable champion, had chalked up a personal best, a South American record and a Diamond League record in one fell swoop.

It would not be the first or the last time that Ibargüen pulled victory from the jaws of defeat with her final jump. She was, and remains, the woman who never quite knows when she is beaten.