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Beamon’s 8.90m

Date of occurrence:

18/10/1968

Mexico City summer Olympics: Bob Beamon jumps a distance of 8.9m, wins the gold medal and brakes the world record at long jump. Beamon's record was one of the most lasting world records in history.
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The Full Story

For that instance, the Olympics were held in Mexico City at a higher altitude then usual and the athletes were not accustomed to compete in those conditions. Because of the altitude, the air was thinner then it usually used to be, a condition that made a big difference for most athletes helping them establish new world records and compete better in the events they participated in at that edition of the Olympics.

Let’s focus our attention for a moment at one of the biggest surprise of that Olympic games, the setting of a new world record at the long jump, the previous record being almost shattered by more then a half of meter. The trials of the long jump event have ended and Bob Beamon, a 22 years old American athlete, barely qualified for the finals, being one of the last athletes in that qualifying round. After a day of rest, the main event followed the final of the long jump competition.

After his performance in the qualifying round, Bob Beamon was not one of the favorites for this event, in fact his coach hoped that the lad will finish within the top four competitors. After two of the competitors jumped before him in the event, it was Beamon’s turn. He had an adequate sprint with a few looping steps, he stepped perfectly on the board line and jumpd…

Beamon landed  almost near the far end of the sandpit. The optical measuring device was useless for that instance because it wasn’t designed to measure a jump of such length. The official had to measure the jump manually and the tension increased on Bob’s side. The officials announced the unbelievable result of 8.90 meters.

When the announcer called the distance for the jump, Bob, who was unfamiliar with the metric scale measurements, didn’t seemed very impressed or affected by it. Shortly after, his teammates and his coach announce him that he had broken the world record he was astonished. Bob collapsed to his knees and placed his hand over his face and mouth in shock. He couldn’t believe his achievement! Not only that he set a new world record, he had done that in a staggering manor! He just did not seem to find the energy to get up and some of his opponents had to help him get on his feet. He was in dreamland for a moment! He asked his coached by how much did he beat the world record and was amazed when he find out that the record was broken by more then a half of meter.

One of his opponents whispered to him that he had destroyed the event for others, and he sure did because for the next 23 years the record was not broken by anyone. Seeing his reaction when he found out the result, the journalist started nicknaming him the man who saw the lightening and described his jump as being the perfect jump. There are some contestants that say that Bob was helped by the thin air and also by the wind, but the fact that none of the other competitors did not came even close to him is a strong argument that dismiss this accusation.

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