American James Connolly became the first champion of the initial modern Olympic Games when he won the triple jump in 1896. The challenging event, which combines speed, strength, technique and timing, was dominated by East Europeans through the '60s and '70s but has recently regained its status as one of the most highly-competitive Olympic events.
About Olympic Triple Jump:
The event's original name, the "hop, step and jump," accurately describes this event, in which the jumpers must hit their marks accurately in all three phases of the jump to gain success.
Olympic Triple Jump History:
An ancient Greek epigram states that Phayllos of Kroton jumped 55 feet at a Pythian Games competition in Delphi. Was his feat simply a legend? Or was he an early triple jumper? We don't know the answers to those questions, but we do know that the modern Olympic triple jump has been a highly competitive event, won by North and South Americans, Europeans, Asians and Australians since 1896.
Action Image Gallery:
Watch elite triple jumpers as they hop, skip and jump to glory in this gallery of photos from a variety of competitions.
Take a look at the top 2012 Olympic triple jump hopefuls, from the U.S. and around the world, then catch up with some familiar names from the past with these selections.