Print and Go Back ESPN Classic [Print without images]

Friday, August 24, 2001
Powell is Beamon with joy, sets long jump record

By Larry Schwartz
Special to

Aug. 30, 1991

Bob Beamon's extraordinary long jump at the 1968 Olympics was the longest-standing track and field record, but if anyone were to break it, the near-unanimous opinion was that it would be Carl Lewis who would accomplish it.

At the World Championships in Tokyo, Beamon's record of 29 feet, 2-1/2 inches is snapped. Lewis puts together the greatest series of jumps in history. Never having reached 29 feet before, he does it three times, including 29, 2-3/4 (wind-aided) and 29, 1-1/4(against the wind).

But it is Mike Powell who breaks both Beamon's record and Lewis' 10-year unbeaten streak in the long jump. On the fifth of his six leaps, Powell soars into the record book with a jump of 29 feet, 4-1/2 inches. "I was four years old when [Beamon] got that record, but it feels great to break it because everyone's been saying that Carl will be the one to do it," Powell says. "Nobody gave me credit. Not to say, 'In your face,' but . . . 'In your face.'"