Olympic Champion swaps sunny Florida for rainy England

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As recently announced UKA has made a key appointment by recruiting USTAF’s 2011 coach of the year, Rana Reider. The previously in Florida based coach has helped numerous athletes to victories and has moved to Britain a few weeks ago.

Reider, who is known as a sprint, hurdles and horizontal jumps specialist, however, is not the only import to British soil. Moving with him is one of his most successful athletes, Olympic Triple Jump Champion Christian Taylor. Normally, foreign coaches appointed by UKA are expected to loosen the ties with their overseas athletes, but as part of the deal with the governing body Taylor is allowed to follow his coach from sunny Florida to cold Leicestershire.

The only 22-year old Olympic Champion knows that there will be tougher challenges than the change in climate, but at the same time is looking at the bright side of things.

“Being away from my family is going to be hard. The weekend visits will be a little more difficult now”, he jokes. “I am expecting rain and cold weather, but I’ve heard that the indoor facility is one of the top in the world so that comforts me.”

The move from America to Loughborough seems a very big one for an athlete that young, but for Christian it was out of question to go separate ways with his coach.  

“It was a very easy decision for me to move to the UK. My coach and I have a special relationship. He is one of my best friends and I am very close to his family. We are doing really well on the track so it doesn’t make sense to change things up. I want to be the best and I want to do it with Rana on my side.”

Reider has led many athletes to success. Amongst his pupils are Olympic 4x100m Gold medallist Tianna Madison and Britain’s long jumper Shara Proctor. Christian explains why he values his coach’s expertise that much:

“Rana is one of the smartest men that I know. He is very technical and does a lot of research. The thing that sets him apart from all the other coaches is the fact that he coaches everyone differently. He always looks at what is best for the athlete. Everyone will have a different workout even if we do the same event.”

While Christian is not moving to Loughborough until January, his coach has already started working in his new position. Moving to the UK as well will be Shara Proctor, which Taylor describes as a relief as they have been training together in Florida before. A new athlete to join the group is British sprinter Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, who is hoping for Reider to work his magic on him after he failed to qualify for London this summer.

Although he has achieved a lot already, Taylor stays humble in his hopes for the future. “God willing I would like to be in the same position as I am now, but I will take it all in strides and take it one year at a time.”