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Backley: Men’s field events not in great shape

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Dwight Phillips of the US in Berlin earlier this year (Reuters)

The problem with the field events is that it is very difficult to tell the story, despite the colour; it's very hard to grab the public's imagination in 10 seconds as they would in a sprint.

The men's throws aren't thriving as they have done. The javelin is certainly not thriving — I take a look at some of the winning distances and seriously consider lacing my boots up again!

The discus has a 40-year-old up there near the top, although admittedly one who can throw 70 metres, and has a few competitive athletes like Virgilijus Alekna and Gerd Kanter. Robert Harting winning the European Championships with 68.3m was one of the highlights of the championships, and I really feel it is the best of the throws right now.

As I said though the jumps are thriving, although the long jump is weak. Irving Saladino jumped at Crystal Palace but doesn't look half the man he was when he won four years ago. Dwight Phillips hasn't been jumping; he had a car accident and then did his Achilles so has opted for career-saving surgery instead of the Olympics.

Chris Tomlinson came second at Crystal Palace and for him to jump 8.26m is an incredible jump at this stage of his career. Greg Rutherford pulled out of Crystal Palace with a hamstring injury, but he has twice gone clear of 8.30m this season and has a real chance.

Australia's Mitchell Watt goes into the long jump as favourite, but you have two Brits who can jump the sort of distances to win it. It's a great moment for two Brits — particularly Tomlinson, for whom this could be a last Olympics.

Former javelin world record holder and twice Olympic silver medallist Steve Backley will be an expert consultant for Eurosport-Yahoo! during the London 2012 Games.

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