DAEGU, South Korea // After an eight-year absence, Christian Olsson is back in the triple jump final at the championships and thinking about getting a medal.
The 31-year-old Swede, who won the event in 2003, qualified on Friday with a jump of 17.16 metres, 0.15m behind Alexis Copello, the top qualifier, of Cuba. "It's been a long road. A lot of injuries, a lot of comebacks," Olsson said. "Hopefully, I can produce some big jumps."
Olsson dominated the event from 2002 to 2004, winning the world outdoor title and two world indoor championships, including a world record jump of 17.83m in 2004. Teddy Tamgho of France, who is out injured, broke that record at last year's world indoors with a leap of 17.90m.
But then a series of injuries sidelined Olsson for two years and he missed the 2008 Beijing Olympics, forcing him to consider finding another line of work.
"When I missed the Olympic Games in Beijing, I was thinking of giving up," Olsson said. "But I felt I had a spark to keep going and I wanted to do good. The Swedish team and Swedish Olympic Committee wanted to put a good team around me to comeback. I started to take care of all my weaknesses and it gave me a shot to come back and be one of the top again."
Olsson said he was anxious going into qualifying knowing that he had a shot to return to Sunday's final. But after qualifying, he was careful not to get ahead of himself and refused to talk about reclaiming his 2003 title.
"I don't want to talk too much about gold," Olsson said. "Hopefully, I can contend for some of the medals. I will try and go into the top three."
Winning a medal, team spokesman Fredrik Trahn said, may not be on the level of an Olympic gold but it would mean that much more than many of his feats considering how far Olsson has come.
"Nothing is impossible. You can come back even if you have tough times," Trahn said.