Mike Powell Breaks Long Jump World Record 1991

Mike Powell Breaks Long Jump World Record 1991 On October 18, 1968, during the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City, American long jumper Bob Beamon delivered one of the great performances in the history of the modern Olympiad. Beamon hung in the rarefied air at the Estadio Olímpico and soared out to an astonishing distance of 8.90 metres, thereby beating the previous world record by 55 centimetres. Of course, Beamon benefited from the ‘double whammy’ of high altitude – Mexico City stands 7,350 feet above sea level – and a brisk, but legal, tailwind, but his record nonetheless stood for 23 years.

The stars aligned again on August 30, 1991, at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, during the World Athletics Championships. Taking advantage not of high altitude, but rather an extraordinarily hard long jump runway surface – of a type which, thereafter, would no longer be sanctioned by World Athletics – fellow American Mike Powell leapt 8.95 metres, thereby beating Beamon’s record by 5 centimetres. It was probably no coincidence that compatriot Carl Lewis jumped 8.87 metres – the third-longest legal jump of all time – during the same competition.

In 2016, Ed Warner, chairman of UK Athletics, proposed introducing a new set of world records, based on performaces in the so-called ‘Clean Athletics’ era. Powell reacted angrily, saying ‘I’ve got something that was set 25 years ago and I have got some guy sitting in an office who can take it away from me? Are you kidding me? I’d slap him in his face if he said that to me.’

Mike Powell – World Long Jump Record 1991 (VIDEO)

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Kathrine Switzer Boston Marathon 1967

Kathrine Switzer Boston Marathon 1967 On April 19, 1967, Kathrine Switzer made history by becoming the first woman to ‘officially’ run in the Boston Marathon although, strictly speaking, at that time female athletes were not allowed to compete beyond 1,500 metres. Switzer wanted to run in a marathon and chose Boston because, in the days before the New York, Chicago and London Marathons, it was a special event and because her coach, Archie Briggs, had run in the race numerous times.

In any event, have completed her application form, which made no mention of gender, as ‘K.V. Switzer’, the 20-year-old duly lined up alongside male competitors at noon on what was Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts. According to her memoir, ‘Marathon Woman’, the first few miles of the race passed uneventfully enough but, after four miles or so, Switzer was confronted by race official John ‘Jock’ Semple. Identifiable by his blue-and-gold Boston Athletic Association (BAA) ribbon, Semple apparently shouted, ‘ Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers!’ before attempting to rip the bib numbers from the front and back of her sweathshirt. Semple also assaulted Briggs when he attempted to intervene.

Although shaken by the experience, Switzer continued, eventually finishing in a time of 4 hours and 20 minutes. The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) reacted by banning female athletes from competing against their male counterparts, upon pain of losing their right to compete altogether. Nevertheless, Switzer went on to compete in many more marathons, notably winning the New York City Marathon in 1974, and was named ‘Female Runner of the Decade’ by ‘Runner’s World’.

Watch Kathrine Switzer’s Boston Marathon Story

Kathrine Switzer: First Woman to Enter the Boston Marathon (VIDEO)

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