Athletics at the 1968 Summer Olympics – Men's long jump

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Men's long jump
at the Games of the XIX Olympiad
VenueEstadio Olímpico Universitario
DatesOctober 18
1st, gold medalist(s) Bob Beamon  United States
2nd, silver medalist(s) Klaus Beer  East Germany
3rd, bronze medalist(s) Ralph Boston  United States
← 1964
1972 →

The men's long jump was one of four men's jumping events on the Athletics at the 1968 Summer Olympics program in Mexico City. Bob Beamon won in a new world record of 8.90m; a record which stood for 23 years until it was finally broken in 1991, when Mike Powell jumped 8.95 m (29 ft. 4⅜ in.) at the World Championships in Tokyo.[1]


Gold United States Bob Beamon
United States (USA)
Silver East Germany Klaus Beer
East Germany (GDR)
Bronze United States Ralph Boston
United States (USA)


Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows.

World record  Ralph Boston (USA)
 Igor Ter-Ovanesyan (URS)
8.35 m Modesto, United States
Mexico City, Mexico
29 May 1965
19 October 1967
Olympic record  Ralph Boston (USA) 8.12 m Rome, Italy 2 September 1960



Rank Name Nationality Mark Notes
1 Ralph Boston  United States 8.27 Q
2 Bob Beamon  United States 8.19 Q
3 Lynn Davies  Great Britain 7.94 Q
4 Jack Pani  France 7.91 Q
4 Tõnu Lepik  Soviet Union 7.91 Q
6 Charles Mays  United States 7.85 Q
7 Reinhold Boschert  West Germany 7.79 Q
8 Mike Ahey  Ghana 7.77 Q
9 Lars-Olof Höök  Sweden 7.77 Q
9 Klaus Beer  East Germany 7.77 Q
11 Gérard Ugolini  France 7.75 Q
12 Igor Ter-Ovanesyan  Soviet Union 7.74 Q
13 Victor Brooks  Jamaica 7.72 Q
14 Allen Crawley  Australia 7.71 Q
15 Andrzej Stalmach  Poland 7.70 Q
16 Leonid Barkovskiy  Soviet Union 7.70 Q
17 Hiroomi Yamada  Japan 7.67 Q
18 Pertti Pousi  Finland 7.63
19 Alan Lerwill  Great Britain 7.62
20 Laurent Sarr  Senegal 7.61
21 Galdino Flores  Mexico 7.59
22 Naoki Abe  Japan 7.58
23 Wellesley Clayton  Jamaica 7.57
24 Shinji Ogura  Japan 7.57
25 Philippe Housiaux  Belgium 7.44
26 Michel Charland  Canada 7.35
27 Clément Sagna  Senegal 7.31
28 Su Wen-ho  Chinese Taipei 7.30
29 Anthony Chong  Malaysia 7.29
30 Jerry Wisdom  Bahamas 6.99
31 Chen Ming-chi  Chinese Taipei 6.71
32 Don Vélez  Nicaragua 6.63
33 Jean Cochard  France 6.11
34 Owen Meighan  Belize 6.06
35 Peter Reed  Great Britain NM


Held on October 18, 1968

Rank Athlete Mark 1 2 3 4 5 6 Notes
Gold medal icon.svg  Bob Beamon (USA) 8.90 8.90 8.04 - - - - WR
Silver medal icon.svg  Klaus Beer (GDR) 8.19 7.97 8.19 x 7.62 x x
Bronze medal icon.svg  Ralph Boston (USA) 8.16 8.16 8.05 7.91 x x 7.97
4  Igor Ter-Ovanesyan (URS) 8.12 8.12 8.09 x x 8.10 8.08
5  Tonu Lepik (URS) 8.09 7.82 8.09 7.63 7.36 7.84 7.75
6  Allen Crawley (AUS) 8.02 x 8.01 x 7.80 x 8.02
7  Jack Pani (FRA) 7.97 7.94 7.97 7.69 7.58 7.61 x
8  Andrzej Stalmach (POL) 7.94 7.71 7.94 7.88 7.75 7.75 7.84
9  Lynn Davies (GBR) 7.94 6.43 7.94 x
10  Hiroomi Yamada (JPN) 7.93 x 7.93 x
11  Leonid Barkovskiy (URS) 7.90 7.90 7.82 x
12  Reinhold Boschert (FRG) 7.89 x 7.54 7.89
13  Michael Ahey (GHA) 7.71 7.71 7.57 7.40
14  Lars-Olof Höök (SWE) 7.66 7.66 x x
15  Victor Brooks (JAM) 7.51 x x 7.51
16  Gerard Ugolini (FRA) 7.44 7.44 7.02 x

Beamon's jump[edit]

On his first jump, Bob Beamon landed near the far end of the sand pit but the optical device which had been installed to measure jump distances was not designed to measure a jump of such length. This forced the officials to bring a tape measure to gauge the jump manually, which added to the feat's aura. After several minutes, it was announced that Beamon had set a world record of 8.90 m (29 ft. 2½ in.), bettering the existing record by 55 cm (21¾ in.). When the announcer called out the distance for the jump, Beamon – unfamiliar with metric measurements – still did not realize what he had done.[2] When his teammate and coach Ralph Boston told him that he had broken the world record by nearly 2 feet, his legs gave way and an astonished and overwhelmed Beamon suffered a brief cataplexy attack brought on by the emotional shock,[3] and collapsed to his knees, his body unable to support itself, placing his hands over his face. In one of the more endearing images of the Games, his competitors then helped him to his feet.[4] The defending Olympic champion Lynn Davies told Beamon, "You have destroyed this event," and in sports jargon, a new adjective – Beamonesque – came into use to describe spectacular feats.[5]

Prior to Beamon's jump, the world record had been broken thirteen times since 1901, with an average increase of 6 cm (2½ in.) and the largest increase being 15 cm (6 in.). Beamon's jump is still the Olympic record and 50 years later remains the second longest wind legal jump in history. Sports journalist Dick Schaap wrote a book about the leap, The Perfect Jump, and the feat was named by Sports Illustrated magazine as one of the five greatest sports moments of the 20th century.

In making his record jump, Beamon enjoyed a number of advantageous environmental factors.[6] At an altitude of 2240 m, Mexico City's air had less resistance than air at sea level, although the rarefied atmosphere in Mexico City would have made a difference of only approximately 4 cm. Beamon also benefited from a tail wind of 2 meters per second on his jump, the maximum allowable for record purposes. It has been estimated that the tail wind and altitude may have improved Beamon's long jump distance by 31 cm (12.2 in.).[6] After winning the gold medal in Mexico City, he never again jumped over 8.22 m (26 ft. 11¾ in.). Beamon's jump was the only time the world record has been set in Men's Olympic long jump competition, though Robert LeGendre did set the record as part of the pentathlon competition in 1924 and women have done it three times (1956, 1964 and 1968).

Shortly after Beamon's jump a major rainstorm blew through making it more difficult for his competitors to try to match Beamon's feat.


  1. ^ "Athletics at the 1968 Mexico City Summer Games: Men's Long Jump". Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  2. ^ "CCTV International". 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  3. ^ Great Olympic Moments – Sir Steve Redgrave, 2011
  4. ^ "Encyclopædia Britannica Article on Bob Beamon". Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  5. ^ IOC Athlete Profile, – "His achievement inspired a new word in the English language: Beamonesque, meaning an athletic feat so dramatically superior to previous feats that it overwhelms the imagination."
  6. ^ a b Ward -Smith, A.J., (1986) Altitude and wind effects on long jump performance with particular reference to the world record established by Bob Beamon. Journal of Sports Science, 4, 89–99

External links[edit]