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.’

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

Derek Redmond Barcelona 1992

Officially, in the first semi-final of the men’s 400 metres at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona Derek Redmond did not finish, having torn his hamstring and collapsed to the track, clutching his leg, down the back straight. However, what happened next would make Redmond an inspiration to millions, like someone winning big on usa casinos online.

Redmond had been forced to withdraw with from the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul with an Achilles tendon injury but, despite a series of operations, arrived in Barcelona injury-free and in peak form. Having run 45.03 seconds and 45.02 seconds when winning his heat and quarter-final, respectively, he was, in his own words, ‘running for a medal, no doubt about that.’ However, after just 100 metres or so of the semi-final, Redmond heard a popping sound, felt excrutiating pain and fell to the ground. He rose and hobbled another 50 metres or so but, by that point, all chance of qualifying for the final had gone.

Nevertheless, Redmond resolved to finish the race on his own terms and, despite being barely able to walk, ignored the attention of doctors and officials as he continued his gradual, faltering progress towards the finishing line. About 100 metres from the finish, Redmond was joined by his father, Jim, to whom he famously said, ‘Dad, I want to finish, get me back in the semi-final.’ Finish he did, albeit a long way last, held up by his father, to create one of the most memorable moments in Olympic history. Iconic moments in time like this can never be predicted. Much like a spin of an online casino roulette wheel, the outcome is an unknown.


Watch Derek Redmond’s Emotion Olympic Story

Jesse Owens 1936 Olympics

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the 1936 Summer Olympics to Berlin in 1931, two years before Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. Nevertheless, Hitler seized the opportunity to promote Nazi ideology, which included the notion that the so-called ‘black auxiliaries’ – in other words, the African-American athletes – on which the United States relied, in part, were ‘subhuman’.

In fact, African-American athletes did supremely well. Ralph Metcalfe, Archie Williams, John Woodruff and Cornelius Johnson won gold medals in the 4 x 100-metres relay, 400 metres, 800 metres and high jump, but it was James Cleveland ‘Jesse’ Owens who surpassed them all. Owens shared the podium with Metcalfe in the 4 x 100-metres relay, after the pair controversially replaced the only two Jewish athletes on the United States’ team, Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller, but had earlier won individual gold medals in the 100 metres, 200 metres and long jump.

Standing 5′ 10″ tall and weighing in at 11st 11lb, Owens won the 100 metres final in an Olympic-record time of 10.30 seconds, finishing just ahead of compatriot Metcalfe. The following day, having narrowly avoiding elimination in the qualifying stage, Owens won his second gold medal with a jump of 8.13 metres in the long jump final, thereby setting a world record that would not be beaten for 25 years. Another Olympic record, 20.70 seconds, followed in the 200 metres final, in which another African-American athlete. Matthew ‘Mack’ Robinson finished second. Owens’ selection for the 4 x 100-metres relay team may have been motivated by ant-semitism, as alleged by Glickman, but Owens, Metcalfe, Foy Draper and Frank Wykoff won gold in a world-record time of 39.80 seconds.

Watch a Jesse Owens segment here