Bob Beamon

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Bob Beamon on his world record (1968)

Robert "Bob" Beamon (born August 29, 1946 in Queens / New York ) is a former American athlete . With a width of 8.90 m, he exceeded the existing world record in the long jump by 55 cm at the 1968 Summer Olympics . This world record lasted until 1991 and is still the Olympic record today (as of 2021).

Earlier career

Beamon began his athletic career as a triple jumper . At Jamaica High School in New York, he broke the national school record in 1965. As a student at the University of Texas at El Paso , he also did long jump and won the NCAA indoor title in three and long jump. In 1968 he emerged victorious from 22 of 23 competitions and also won the eliminations for the Olympic Games.

Olympic victory in Mexico City in 1968

He became famous for his world record jump with the sensational width of 8.90 m, which he achieved in the first attempt at the long jump competition at the Olympic Games in Mexico City on October 18, 1968. This record, celebrated as a "leap into the 21st century", meant an improvement of 55 centimeters on the world record previously held by Ralph Boston and Igor Ter-Owanesjan , an increase that had never been achieved on this scale - before that it had taken 30 years to increase the world record by 22 centimeters (from Jesse Owens 8.13 m on May 25, 1935 to Ralph Boston's 8.35 m on May 29, 1965). Beamon benefited from several factors during his jump: On the one hand, the thin mountain air of Mexico City (2,310 m) favored sprinters and jumpers; In addition, for the first time at the Olympic Games, a tartan surface was laid in the stadium to improve speed . In the run-up to the Games, many world records in sprint and jumping disciplines were expected. On the other hand, when Beamon's approach, a tailwind blew at the highest permissible strength for world records of 2 m / s and it hit the take-off bar perfectly. His competitors, including the two previous world record holders, found the same conditions, but lagged far behind his performance. The second-placed winner of the silver medal, Klaus Beer (GDR), achieved 71 cm less with 8.19 m. Ralph Boston landed on the bronze course with 8.16 m.

The world record was only improved in 1991 at the World Athletics Championships in Tokyo by Mike Powell to 8.95 m.

Bob Beamon (1992)

After the Olympic victory

After the Olympic victory, Bob Beamon only appeared sporadically. He was never able to build on his world record performance. The attempt at a comeback in 1972 failed. In 1973 he became a professional athlete for a short time.

After finishing his active career, the trained tailor worked as a social worker.

In 1983 he was inducted into the US Olympic Hall of Fame .


  • 1967:
    • Winner of the AAU indoor championship with 8.21 m
    • Victory over Briton Lynn Davies with 8.04 m in the continental battle in Montreal
  • 1968:
    • Olympic victory with a world record distance of 8.90 m
    • Winner of the AAU championship with 8.33 m
    • Winner of the AAU indoor championship with 8.21 m
    • Victory in the trials with 8.14 m
    • 8.39 m at high altitude training camp in South Lake Tahoe , but not recognized as a world record due to tail winds
    • Six wins over world record holder Ralph Boston
    • Indoor world record with 8.30 m (improvement of the previous record of Igor Ter-Owanesjan by 6 cm)
  • 1969:
    • Winner of the AAU championship with 8.20 m

Performance development

year 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970
Width (m) 7.34 7.31 7.64 7.71 7.80 8.11 8.90 8.20 7.91


The Munich club Bob Beaman was named after Bob Beamon and existed from 2010 to 2019.

Web links

Commons : Bob Beamon  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Munich Mysteries - Bob Beaman