Mike Powell's World long jump record of 8.95m lasted longer than Bob Beamon's more famous World record
of 8.90 set at the 1968 Olympic Games. Carl Lewis never set a long jump World record.
Prior to 1988 Mike Powell had only shown glimpses of his capability as a
long jumper, as he had progressively improved, increasing his personal
best from 8.06m in 1983 to 8.27m in 1987. His first major international
breakthrough came at the Olympic Games in Seoul in 1988. Powell had
only just made it on the US team to go to Seoul. During the 1980s, the
Long Jump had been dominated by Powell's compatriot Carl Lewis, the 1984
Olympic champion and there was every expectation that Lewis would
successfully defend his Olympic title at Seoul. As expected, Lewis won
the US Olympic Trials at Indianapolis on 18 July, producing the year's
best leap of 8.76m. Veteran Larry Myricks jumped 8.74m to secure second
The competition for the third spot on the team was tight and
Powell just scraped through on his last jump with a wind-assisted 8.36m,
well behind the performances of Lewis and Myricks. When they arrived
in Seoul, however, Powell soon made it clear that he was not just there
to make up the numbers. He headed the field in the qualifying round,
and in the third round of the final held on 26 September, Powell jumped (see photo above)
a personal best of 8.49m, which proved good enough to earn him the
silver medal behind Lewis (8.72m) and relegate Myricks to third place.
Powell consolidated and continued to improve upon that form the next
year, equalling his personal best of 8.49m in beating Myricks at
Brussels in August, having earlier jumped a wind-assisted 8.55m at San
Jose in May. In 1990, he won the first of his six US national
championships and increased his personal best to 8.66m at Villeneuve d'
Ascq. This jump moved him to fifth on the all-time list and only 0.13m
behind Lewis. (Ron Casey)
Mike Powell jumps 8.95m to break Bob Beamon's famous World Record. 30th. August 1991.
Photo George Herringshaw. ©