Athletics stats: Men’s Long Jump World Record and its Progression over the Years

The men’s long jump is one of the first track and field competitions in the Olympic Games, which dates back to the 776 BC Greek Olympic Games. The event was part of a pentathlon that comprised the discus, javelin, sprint, and wrestling. The ancient long jump was very different from the current event in that participants would run and jump with weights in their hands, typically with a running start, and fall in a pit of sand or sawdust. The winner of the contest was the athlete who leaped the farthest.

The modern long jump first appeared in England in the middle of the 19th century, where athletes would leap into a sand pit from a standing posture without using any weights. The jump’s length was calculated by measuring the distance between the takeoff board to the athlete’s nearest footprint in the sand made by any part of their body. 

The competition was added to the first ever modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. Since then, it has become a mainstay in the Summer Olympics. Long jumpers now take a running start and use a curving approach to maximize their speed and power, which has resulted in substantial modifications to the long jump’s equipment, rules, and technique over time.

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Men’s Long Jump World Record and its Progression over the Years

Peter O’Connor of Great Britain achieved the first long jump world record in 1901 in the men’s long jump with a leap of 7.61 meters. The record stood for more than 20 years till Jesse Owens of the United States surpassed it in 1935 with a new mark of 8.13 meters. Owens later won the gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by clearing an Olympic record of 8.06 meters. 

Bob Beamon’s performance in the men’s long jump at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City is regarded as one of the greatest moments in Olympic history. With a gigantic leap of 8.90 meters, Beamon established a world record that held for 23 years before being shattered by Mike Powell of the United States in 1991. Beamon’s record-breaking leap was by an amazing margin of 55 centimeters.

Other illustrious men’s long jump competitors include American Carl Lewis, who claimed four straight Olympic gold medals from 1984 to 1996, Dwight Phillips, who achieved four world championships and one gold medal at the Olympics, and Ralph Boston, who smashed the world record five times in addition to winning three Olympic medals of every color. Let’s take a look at the long jumpers who broke the World Record over the years.

DateAthlete (Country)WindMark
30 Aug 1991Mike Powell (United States of America)0.38.95
18 Oct 1968Bob Beamon (United States of America)28.9
19 Oct 1967Igor Ter-Ovanesyan (Soviet Union)08.35
29 May 1965Ralph Boston (United States of America)08.35
12 Sep 1964Ralph Boston (United States of America)18.34
25 May 1963Phil Shinnick (United States of America)8.33
10 Jun 1962Igor Ter-Ovanesyan (Soviet Union)-0.18.31
16 July 1961Ralph Boston (United States of America)1.28.28
27 May 1961Ralph Boston (United States of America)1.88.24
12 Aug 1960Ralph Boston (United States of America)08.21
25 May 1935Jesse Owens (United States of America)1.58.13
27 Oct 1931Chuhei Nambu (Japan)0.57.98
09 Sep 1928Silvio Cator (Haiti)07.93
07 July 1928Ed Hamm (United States of America)7.9
13 June 1925DeHart Hubbard (United States of America)7.89
07 July 1924Robert Legendre (United States of America)7.76
23 July 1921Ned Gourdin (United States of America)7.69
5 August 1901Peter O’Connor (Great Britain)7.61

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