Originally more famous for his ever-changing hair colour, piercings and unusual dress sense, Phillips Idowu developed relatively late in his career from being a talented but erratic performer to being one of the most consistent triple jumpers of his generation. Born in London to Nigerian parents, he initially divided his sporting interests between athletics, basketball and American football before choosing to concentrate on the triple jump. Idowu emerged as a serious force in the event in 2000 when he finished sixth in his first Olympic Games. The 2002 Commonwealth Games saw Idowu win the silver medal behind compatriot Jonathan Edwards but his upward momentum was broken when he had to sit out 2003 due to a knee injury. After Edwards’ retirement Idowu found himself as the British #1 but he could not emulate Edwards’ Sydney Olympic victory in 2004, He did reach the final in Athens and produced a series of three long jumps but each one was adjudged a foul and he failed to make the cut for another three jumps. He continued his affinity with the Commonwealth Games when he won the triple jump at the 2006 edition in Melbourne but it was not until 2008 that he became a major player on the world scene. Idowu began his improvement by winning the European Indoor Championships and, after a series of fine performances over the summer, arrived in Beijing as one of the leading medal contenders. He led the qualifying competition and was leading the final at the half way stage before being overhauled by Nelson Evora and having to settle for the silver. By now in his 30s, Idowu continued his improved form and won the 2009 World Championships and 2010 European Championship title. The latter was won in a new personal best of 17.81 m. Although he was unable to defend his world title in 2011 he still took the silver medal in the event and remains one of the world’s top performers. Idowu had fitness issues going into the London Olympics and sadly failed to make the final 12. The following year he took time away from the sport but returned in 2014 without recapturing his old form.