Making the leap of fate
FABRICE Lapierre wants to become the long jumper that finally walks down the Olympic aisle for Australia.
Well, take a running jump down it.
It's been a case of so often the bridesmaid never the bride when it comes to the pit for the green and gold.
Gary Honey (1984), Jai Taurima (2000) and Mitchell Watt (2012) have secured silver medals at the Games in men's long jumping. Honey had to settle for runner-up to the great Carl Lewis in Los Angeles.
"My aim is to change that this year and bring home the gold for Australia,” Lapierre told Australian Regional Media.
Having also recently secured silver medals at the 2015 world championships (when jumping 8.24m in Beijing) and 2016 world indoor championships (8.25m in Portland), Lapierre wants another gold for himself to hang next to those he won at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and 2010 world indoor championships.
"It is unfinished business - it's the only medal that I haven't won,” said Lapierre, who finished 16th at his one and only Games appearance in 2008.
Born in Mauritius and raised in Sydney, he is now living in Phoenix where he trains at the renowned Altis centre under the guidance of master coach Dan Pfaff.
He missed the 2012 London Games due to injury - and even contemplated giving the sport away - but has gotten his career back on track under Pfaff.
He's seen his long-jump rivals from close quarters, with reigning Olympic champion Greg Rutherford, from Britain, also based at Altis.
Lapierre describes Rutherford, who jumped 8.31m to win gold on home soil, as "good company”, but not so much when it comes to training.
"We're too competitive, we're not too concerned about what each other's doing,” he said.
"He will be a danger, but he won't be the main danger.”
Those will be American trio Marquis Dendy, who leapt 8.41m to beat Lapierre in Portland, Jeff Henderson and Jarrion Lawson.
"They're really talented,” Lapierre said.