Mike Powell - U.S.A. - Long Jump world record and two World Championship golds.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 25 September 1988

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Mike POWELL - U.S.A. - Long Jump world record and two World Championship golds.

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 place.


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. ©