Jonathan is a former triple jumper who made the record books in 1995 when he broke the World Record at the World Championships in Gothenburg with an amazing jump of 18.29m in the second round; to date no one has even come close to this distance. His extraordinary achievements have earned him a place in history as one of the world’s greatest and most admired athletes.
In his breakthrough year of 1995, Edwards produced a jump of 18.43 m (60 feet 5½ inches) at the European Cup. The leap was wind assisted and did not count for record purposes, but it was a sign of things to come as he capped an unbeaten year with a historic gold medal performance at the World Championships, in which he broke the world record twice in the same meet.
During 1996 Edwards went into the Olympic Games as favourite and world record holder, but it was American Kenny Harrison who took the gold with a jump of 18.09 m. Edwards walked away with the silver after a leap of 17.88 m (the longest ever jump not to win gold). Edwards won the gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Games, and was appointed a CBE shortly afterwards. He also won golds at the 2001 World Championships and 2002 Commonwealth Games. At one point in 2002, Edwards held all the gold medals for the “four majors” (Olympic Games, World Championships, Commonwealth Games & European Championships).
He retired after the 2003 World Championships as Great Britain’s most successful medal winning athlete (at the time).
In 2004, Edwards joined with Paula Radcliffe on an Olympic Special Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. The pair raised £64,000 for charity with half of that sum going to the British Olympic Association and a quarter of the sum going to Asthma UK.
Following his retirement as an athlete, it was the BBC who first recognised Jonathan’s potential off the track and he naturally became one of BBC Sport’s key pundits and commentators covering all the major athletics events including the Olympics in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. This Summer Jonathan presented the Canoe Slalom and Athletics morning sessions of the London 2012 Olympic Games live from the stadium for BBC Sport and joined the commentary team for the evening sessions. Later this Summer he will be presenting on the London 2012 Paralympic Games for Channel 4.
Jonathan was selected to sit on the board of LOCOG as their athlete representative – the highest profile ex athlete in a senior position outside of the Chairman. He is Chair of the Sports Advisory Group, having played an important part in the success of the London 2012 bid as an Official Ambassador, and a member of the Athletes Advisory Group. He has also been appointed as the Deputy Chair of the London 2012 Nations and Regions Group, helping to ensure the benefits of the Games are maximised across the UK.
Jonathan is an accomplished, eloquent public speaker and particularly relishes facilitator and hosting roles.