The Story Behind Bob Beamon’s Long Jump Olympic Record | Olympics On The Record

The Story Behind Bob Beamon’s Long Jump Olympic Record | Olympics On The Record


This is American long jumper
Bob Beamon, on the track, about to attempt his first jump
in the final of the 1968 Olympic Games
in Mexico City. Beamon was a gifted athlete,
who discovered his talent while at reform school in
New York City. Out! For this young man, it had been
a long journey from the mean streets of Queens all the way to the Olympic
Games. He had jumped 7 metres
34 centimetres when he was just 15 years old. Now 22, he had a personal best of 8 metres 33 centimetres, the second longest jump
of all time. Unfortunately for Beamon, the joint world record holders
were both competing in Mexico. Beamon’s teammate and mentor, 1960 gold medallist
Ralph Boston, and the Soviet star
Igor Ter-Ovanesyan. The ’60s had seen a long jump
duel between these two great
athletes, setting eight world records
between them, adding 19 centimetres to the record over eight years. So Beamon knew even his
personal best might not be enough. The Olympic champion
Lynn Davies was also in Mexico to
defend his title. He was curious to see how the new kid would perform
in an Olympic final. Beamon hadn’t been jumping
particularly well. After two foul jumps in
the qualifying round, he needed the guidance
of Boston to help him to qualify
for the final, achieved with a jump of
8.19 metres. Good, but not good enough to set off alarm bells among
his competitors. Nervous the night before
the final, Beamon’s preparations were
a bit out of the ordinary. You know that thing you’re not supposed to do
before the big day? He did it. Well, whatever works
for you, Bob – because as he stood
on the track facing his first jump
of the finals, his mind was clear
and his body relaxed. He knew it was good.
Maybe very good. The first sign something really
unusual had happened was when the official judge could not record the distance using his new
hi-tech recording device. The jump was literally
off the scale. Yeah, you know,
I can really relate to that. You? You can relate
to Bob Beamon? Oh, not Beamon. No, that judge
guy with the funny hat. He has no idea what he’s doing. The competition was suspended as they got the
tape measure out. They had to check
and re-check. It took a whole 20 minutes for them to simply measure
Beamon’s jump. “That can’t be right.
Check it again.” And then the distance
was announced. 8.90 metres – over 29 feet. Beamon had shattered the world
record by 55 centimetres. He’d beaten his own personal
best by 57 centimetres. This was how Beamon reacted. Imagine how his rivals felt. The contest for the gold
medal was over. The German, Klaus Beer,
leapt 8.19 for silver, Boston was just behind
in bronze. The Beamon jump. It became maybe the most talked
about record of all time. It would have won the 2012 long
jump event by 59 centimetres. A sport that had moved
19 centimetres in eight years had leapt over the horizon
in a single jump. It’s the altitude, you know.
That thin air. That is why he jumped so far. No – if it’s the altitude, why didn’t everyone jump
8.90 metres? Mmm? Hm. You may have a point there,
Jan.

73 Replies to “The Story Behind Bob Beamon’s Long Jump Olympic Record | Olympics On The Record”

  1. These videos are great but there could have been a bit more added to this one. like when the score was first announced Beamon did not know how far he jumped because he didn’t know the metric system. And also how his legs gave way and he suffered a cataplexy attack because of the emotional shock.

  2. That was absolutely amazing, he must have been so happy, and surprised when he saw he made a new record!! He truly competed excellently.

  3. Maybe the Olympic channel should do a video about the 1968 Olympics in which the Olympics saw fit to ban Carlos & Smith as well as Peter Norman for simply wearing a button of the Olympic Project for Human Rights an org set up to oppose to racism in sport. There were 3 heroes that day all above & beyond any Olympian.

  4. This is exactly how I feel when I get a new pr for jumping! (ok maybe not exactly) but they call out a number and it is a foot better than my personal record I'm just like "no way they must have measured wrong!"

  5. I think the people here don't really get that "drinking" was not the main thing they were talking about.

  6. Still, after nearly 50 years, probably the single greatest, one-time performance of all time in track and field. Mr. Beamon, we salute you!

  7. To me Long Jump is just one of those sports that is…weird? it works great as a game to pass time and compete against friends, but a competitive world wide sport? it's like making hopscotch an Olympic sport

  8. This was my favorite trivia question for years “The world record for the long jump is 29 feet 2 and some odd inches how many people have jumped 28 feet?” The answer was Zero

  9. Good report but the cartoons are unnecessary. They dumb the whole presentation down severely. Reconsider in the future, eh?

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  11. these videos are exceptional. just watched three in a row. im a big and long time fan of the sport..you've done your homework.

  12. Where did you people get your idea of American schools that aren't British schools from the Pink Floyd video

  13. An aberration. Despite the high altitude nobody else jumped even as far as their personal best with 2nd place only 8.19m. There was just something strange about it. And why were the officials so incompetent that the event was held up for 20 minutes while they measured the jump. They could quickly tell if it was beyond the measuring device viewer. So how long does it take to measure with a tape measure. You can measure it and check it 3 times in less than a minute and be pretty sure it's right or at least right within 1 cm. Very strange. I wonder if they even measured it correctly if they were so incompetent that it took that long to verify a measurement.

  14. HIs record still holds.
    Athletics Long jump
    World Mike Powell 8.95 m (29 ft 4 1⁄4 in) (1991)
    Olympic Bob Beamon 8.90 m (29 ft 2 1⁄4 in) (1968)

  15. Lol perhaps the night before relaxed him so much that it enabled that jump😂But seriously, that's pretty amazing, & I liked the part where they talked about how as a kid, he just found he had a natural ability for this

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