Lynn Davies - Great Britain - Long Jump Gold at 1964 Olympics

Photo/Foto: E. D. Lacey (1922-1976)

Date: 18 October 1968

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      Wednesday, 20 May 1942
      Nantymoel, Wales.
  • Great Britain

Lynn DAVIES - Great Britain - Long Jump Gold at 1964 Olympics

In 1968 Lynn Davies, the 1964 Olympic Champion, leapt 8m. 23cm. whilst competing in Berne to improve his British long jump record. He may have thought all looked set fair for him to have an outside chance of retaining his Olympic title later that year in Mexico. Four years earlier in Tokyo the teacher from Nantymoel, Glamorgan, had just qualified on his last jump for the final and thus went in a fortunate man - very fortunate as events turned out because the weather was very "British" in Japan for the final. It was wet and windy and Davies took full advantage, saving his winning leap to his fifth round when the wind momentarily died down (he was placed third at that moment). He cleared 8m. 07cm. (a British record) to win the gold and was without doubt the best man on the day. In 1966 he also claimed a gold medal at the European Championships, beating his great Soviet rival Igor Ter-Ovanesyan (3rd in Tokyo) and took the Commonwealth title that same year. But it was the Olympics that really mattered. However, he knew it was the U.S.A. jumpers, Ralph Boston in particular (2nd in Tokyo), who presented the biggest threat and he was right. This time, though, it was the rarefied air of Mexico, not the wind and rain, that came to the aid of the winner and that winner wasn't Boston (3rd) but one Bob Beaman. The rest is history: Beamon soared over 29 feet. Lynn was shell-shocked as can be seen in his face above (in Mexico). Just as Beamon's Olympic record has lasted into this century so indeed has Davies' British record and despite the shock of Mexico, Lynn was not destroyed by the experience. At the following year's European Championships he leapt his Olympic-winning distance to finish 2nd behind Ter-Ovanesyan. Lynn's last championship medal came at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh where he took the Gold medal for Wales with a leap of 8.06m, thus retaining the title he had won 4 years earlier in Kingston, Jamaica. (GH)