CM – Thirty years after Powell against Lewis, the greatest long jump match of all time


From time to time athletics see groundbreaking competitions in which more than one participant breaks an existing world record. Tomorrow 30 years ago (August 30th) it happened in the long jump at the 1991 World Cup in Tokyo, when Mike Powell and Carl Lewis took the long jump to new heights.

The big breakthrough phenomenon has been one of the most exciting over the years Aspects of sport – and Tokyo witnessed the recent manifestations during the hosting of the Olympic Games.

The 400-meter hurdles for men and women in the new and unfortunately empty Olympic Stadium in the Japanese capital have rewritten the books.

The first Norwegian Karsten Warholm lowered his own mark for the men from 46.70 seconds for 2021 – beating the 46.78 set by Kevin Young from the USA at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona – to 45.94, followed by Rai Benjamin from the USA in 46.17.

The next day, Sydney McLaughlin took home gold in 51.46 seconds, ahead of her US teammate Dalilah Muhammad, who reached 51.58 – both times within Muhammad’s world record from 2019 of 52.16.

Looking back at similar cases, the mind is inevitably drawn to the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Gun-to-tape winner Filbert scored the men’s 1500m there Bayi from Tanzania and New Zealander John Walker, who crossed the finish line quickly, achieved times within the world record of 3 minutes 33.1 seconds set in 1967 by Jim Ryun from the United States.

As for the field competitions, the Triple jump competition at the 1968 Olympic Games, which was held in the thin air of Mexico City, an extraordinary series of world records.

Before the Games, the world record was 17.03 meters, set by the Pole Jozef Szmidt. This mark was exceeded in qualifying when the Italian Giuseppe Gentile took 17.10 m, and in the final of the following day, on October 17th, he scored 17.22 m in the first lap.

That was only enough, however for bronze at the end of a competition that set three more world records.

In lap three, the favorite, Russian Viktor Saneyev, jumped 17.23 m. In lap five, Brazilian Nelson Prudencio took the lead with 17.27 m.

But on his sixth and final attempt, Saneyev won gold and regained the world record when he went to 17.35m.

In qualifying and the final, Szmidt’s record was broken nine times and leveled twice. The top 5 in the finals all broke it at least once. Szmidt, the champion from 1960 and 1964, finished seventh with 16.89 m.

The following day there was only one world record in the men’s long jump final. But the extent was so great that it sent shock waves through the sport.

The achievement of Bob Beamon to add 55 centimeters to the world record with his effort of 8.90 meters was monumental.

Thirty-three years earlier his American compatriot Jesse Owens gave the event a similar groundbreaking world record – set in Ann Arbor on May 25, 1935 in a period of 45 minutes, where he set five world records and reached a sixth.

Owen’s long jump mark of 8.13 meters stood for more than a quarter of a century before compatriot Ralph Boston reached 8.21 meters on August 12, 1960 in Walnut, California. Boston improved this mark fourfold over the next five years, reaching 8.35 meters in 1965.

Two years later, Russian Igor Ter-Ovanesyan hit that record – albeit in the thin air of Mexico City, that on 2.240 meters above sea level on plateaus in the center of the country. In the following year, the long jump landscape changed completely in the same arena …

Height favors performance in shorter, more explosive events such as sprints and jumps. And while there is no exact method of calculating the benefit, knowledgeable statisticians in the sport calculate that using the long jump as an example, performance in height can make up to 30 cm difference in height.

Beamon benefited from this, as did all of its competitors in a field that included Boston and UK defending champion Lynn Davies. But he finished 71 cm ahead of his closest rival Klaus Beer from the GDR, who took silver with 8.19 m.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Beamon’s jump for the ages, the World Athletics website contained some of the contemporary reports by respected athletics journalist and statistician Mel Watman.

« The officials in charge of the measurement seemed to be taking a long time, so it seemed like a pretty good bet that the 8.35m world record would be broken, but it was As far as the magical 28 feet? « Watman wrote.

 » There was still no number flashing on the electrical display, then suddenly everything happened. Beamon danced around, even kissed the track, and competitors rushed to congratulate him. At last the board flickered on. The number 8 flashed, then a 9 … brief confusion, then the startling realization that the jump was 8.90 meters, a hectic check of the tables … 29 feet 2 inches!

« Those of the 60,000 spectators present, those who witnessed the actual jump knew that they had the privilege of seeing perhaps the greatest single success in the entire history of athletics.

« It could be a world record into 21st.

 » Anything Beamon had done was to raise the mark by Ralph Boston and Igor Ter-Ovanesyan by more than 1 feet. If I hadn’t seen it myself, I would never have believed it. Several generations will have to live with it. « It … the unattainable record. »

Unattainable until August 30, 1991, when two American athletes met in Tokyo on a night of steamy moisture and swirling winds to find the tallest and most thrilling Producing long jump competition of all time. So far.

By the age of 30, Carl Lewis had established himself as one of the greatest athletes of all time – a sprinter and a jumper – by which point in his career he already had six Olympic gold medals – more should follow in Barcelona in 1992 and Atlanta in 1996.

He was Olympic champion in the 100 m in 1984 and 1988, and five days earlier he had won his third world title there in a world record of 9.86 seconds. Fast on the slopes? .

Lewis was also a two-time Olympic long jump champion and came up with an undefeated streak of 65 events in the discipline that dates back to 1981 h Tokyo.

Powell, meanwhile, came up with his own lesser but still impressive stats – he had won 13 of his 14 long jump competitions that season. The only man to beat him at the American Championships in New York and knock him out an inch on his last jump was Lewis.

This was the only previous long jump competition that Lewis had competed in that year . But despite the long-legged talent of the 27-year-old challenger Powell, he came to Tokyo as a strong favorite to win the third consecutive world title.

The windsock next to the runway had a secret life when the competition began, bend and fall, bend and fall.

But after an indifferent, exhausting attempt to open 7.85 meters for Powell, Lewis’ first jump was in zero wind – and he landed at 8.68 meters, just four inches behind Distance, which had brought him the Olympic title three years earlier in Seoul.

None less than Peter Matthews, a doyen of athletics knowledge, said in his TV comment: « That could be the gold medal for him immediately, although Mike Powell might have other ideas. I’m sure Mike Powell should have other ideas, but I would honestly be surprised if anyone goes beyond that. « 

Powell had a personal best at this point height of 8.66 m and had surmounted 8.73 m at the height of Sestriere. So Lewis couldn’t feel comfortable with his lead, considerable as it was.

Round three. Powell stood 8.29 m. Lewis grew tall again, landed near nine meters in the sand, and looked excited for the first time at the event. At the wind display of 3.2 meters per second, well above the permissible value of 2 MPs for record purposes, he grimaced for a moment. But whatever he had done counted in the championship, legal or not for record purposes.

But Powell wasn’t done yet. He didn’t have Lewis ‘speed on the slopes, but he had a bigger natural spring, and on his fourth lap he jumped – and landed very close to Lewis’ record. He ran back down the runway in nervous glee. Only to turn around in dismay and dismay when a red flag went up belatedly.

He went back to the jumping board, his face hurrying to the plasticine marker.

« That sure is the jump of the day for him . Oh! The red flag is hoisted. He doesn’t believe it. It took the officer a long time to hoist the flag. It must have been so close to the modeling clay. He says, « Where, where? It’s not there! I can’t see it! » Well, he’s a very angry man indeed – that’s over 8.54 and maybe close to Lewis’ 8.83.  »

The camera wasn’t lying. Powell’s toe was slightly over the line, and to keep crushing it, Lewis extended his lead as he turned his fourth lap and delivered an epic 8.91m. The furthest that has ever been seen, albeit with a wind value that was temptingly above the permissible limit at 2.9 MPs.

Strictly speaking, the world record was only broken once that night, but the relatively low wind advantage Lewis’ fourth jump was more than offset by the fact that it was measured at sea level rather than altitude. Any great statistician will tell you it was a world record attempt.

Lewis grimaced for a moment when he did had seen this reading before his mark appeared, but the E The meeting of the magic figures on the table made him celebrate.

« It’s a shame the wind is a bit over the limit, but this is without a doubt the biggest jump we’ve ever seen, » said Matthews. « It doesn’t have the great height advantage like Bob Beamon did, and Carl Lewis made the leap of our lives. The photographers and everyone else here are on their feet. 8.91.

 » Well, the influence, that the world felt when Beamon rose to 8.90 was great, and Carl finally topped it. Even if it’s not a world record. « 

One of the other historical elements of this intense competition was the fact that it was the only time that American network television, in this case NBC, devoted more than 20 minutes to a single field competition .

NBC commentator Dwight Stones, a two-time Olympic high jump bronze medalist and three-time world record holder, knew all the peaks and troughs of the athletics scene.

He noticed as Powell was going about his jumps that Lewis was casual but distinct was near his rival, lounging in a spot right next to the runway, and then moving back just behind Powell as he made his approach.

The suggestion that Lewis was trying to upset his compatriot American, was accepted and then rejected on the grounds that Powell knew how hard it would be to beat the perennial champion after he did had tried for so long. The winning and losing numbers before this final were 15: 0 in favor of Lewis …

And so came the fifth round. Powell goes first. He needed something like or more than his fourth round try, and he had to be legal. He started on purpose and seemed to almost skip a gear and accelerate further as he approached the board, although the pictures that were shown afterwards made it clear that he had a few inches left at takeoff.

The elevator. The legs. The landing. The electrified ascent, the knowledge of something special and wonderful was already seething in him.

« Carl Lewis, unbeaten in 65 long jump competitions that existed before. With 8.91 he made the longest jump in history – and he is beaten! It’s 8.95!

« Bob Beamon’s world record was broken by Mike Powell. Two more inches on that historic leap that took nearly 23 years up Mexico City. And believe it, two men excelled in this competition. Carl Lewis, who still has two jumps to go, and Mike Powell, who is now the world record holder in the long jump. « 

Every normal night it was over. But this wasn’t a normal night and Carl Lewis wasn’t a normal athlete. How would he react?

The answer was – great. His fifth attempt was huge, 8.87 m, in legal winds. The longest legal leap he has ever made. And he looked dejected. Shortly by eight centimeters.

One last roll of the dice on round six. Powell grew up again – and the red flag waved. As Lewis gathered his thoughts before his final attempt and the camera circled his face, the world record holder bowed his head and prayed.

Another tremendous achievement from the multiple master who troubled the sand near the nine-meter mark. Was it enough He didn’t think.

Before the end mark was announced, he went to Powell, who was seated, and folded his hand. At that moment the sign of Lewis’s final effort appeared. Gigantic. 8.84 million legally. His second best ever. And not enough.

Matthews commented on the world record performance of the new world champion: “It’s like Beamon. It’s like the world saw this tremendous speed on the runway and everything was right on that jump. The leg shoot was fantastic, the technique was perfect, see how he hits the board – pretty good – there’s a millimeter or two left but it wasn’t over like the previous jump, and the world record finally broke – and not on Lewis .

« I followed Carl for eight years, » he said. « And when I started competing against him, he knocked me about 50 cm. And in the last competition before the World Cup, he knocked me an inch on his last jump.

 » So I knew that I would That this would be my chance to finally beat when the World Cup was over.

« I knew I had to be ready to break the world record to win.

 » It was really very fast, a hard but resilient surface. It was a great interface for me. People complained about the weather, but for me it was perfect, it was a typhoon that was supposed to be really, very, very humid.

« It was the kind of weather that was like a lightning strike with no rain Ions in the air. So it was full of electricity and for me it was perfect. And actually the same weather that happened when Bob Beamon broke the world record.

« In the days before that, I imagined the Breaking the world record. And I knew Carl would go for it. Carl always starts well.

« Carl jumped consistently well all day. When he jumped 8.68 on his first jump, I wasn’t at all surprised. I actually thought he could keep jumping.

« My first jump was terrible, but when I made my second jump I wanted to make a fair jump. It felt like 8:25, maybe 8:30. So when they were ‘8:54 ‘said, I thought’ Oh yeah ‘8.54 I know I can go a long way today, so I was really excited at that point because I knew I had a lot to do. « 

After Lewis his Having expanded his lead with the longest jump ever seen, a windy 8.91m, Powell said, “He pumped his fist into the crowd and he jogged past me, pumped his fist and said, ‘Yeah, that’s right! That’s right! ‘

« And at that moment I was so mad. I just wanted to get up and hit him, I wanted to fight him because he was like my enemy back then. I took it personally. I had that Feeling like I just wanted it.  » getting into a fight.

« When he did that, I said, ‘Okay, now we can get it going. Let’s get started. I’m ready to go.’ And I wanted to wait until my last jump to really get going, but I was so excited by his reaction to his jump because I just took him personally that he told me, « that’s it ».

« I was angry. My adrenaline was so, so high. I went through my visualization and have never seen it more clearly. So I just thought to myself: go. And then I had a great jump, had a lot of air- And then the crowd let me know how far it was because they just screamed.

« I could hear people saying ‘world record’. It was like that loud in the stadium. It just felt good. My approach wasn’t perfect, but I had a chance to get a lot of good height. And I just knew I’d jump past him.

« So sat I just there and waited for the measurement. I was really happy because I saw the wind was 0.3. It seemed to take a long time for the mark to come up. And the numbers came up slowly, one by one, it was like, eight point nine … five!

“I’ll never forget that. I was so, so happy walking down the track, I thought, ‘Yeah! I got it! I finally got the record. ‘

Powell was literally sitting with his hand on his heart. Memories of the last jump in New York in my head.

« When I saw the mark for Carl’s last jump, I knew I had won. I was so happy that I just started running and when I did Seeing officials who fouled my fourth jump, I just picked him up and hugged him! And for a Japanese who was so very out of their culture.

« Then Carl came down and congratulated me. After the competition in New York where he hit me, he put his arm around me and led me back down the track and said, ‘Okay, you know, that was a great competition.’

« So after this one. » last jump he came up to me and I walked down the track with him and said, ‘Yes, yes, yes, you are a great competitor!’ So I got him back for that!

« For me it was the highlight of everything that had gone wrong in my life for me because every time someone scolded me, or a girl turned me down on a date, or someone doubted me.

« This jump was for her to say how – take that! So it was much bigger than just a competition for me. It was I against everything that had happened in my life and everything that was negative against me in the world and to let people know that I am taking my point, I am now making my mark. So it was much more than a jump for me. It was a turning point in my life. « 

Mike Rowbottom, one of the UK’s most talented sports journalists, reported on the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics and the Paralympics after playing the last five and four Summer Games as chief feature for insidethegames Winter Games for The Independent. He has worked for The Daily Mail, The Times, The Observer, The Sunday Correspondent and The Guardian.

Denver hosted the 1976 Winter Olympics, ahead of Sion in Switzerland, Tempere in Finland and Vancouver in Canada Awarded at the meeting of the International Olympic Committee in 1970. But in a referendum in Colorado in November 1972, voters turned down funding for the event, the only time a city has won the Olympics but backed out. The IOC Whistler then offered the games in Canada, but these also declined due to a change of government after the elections a b. Salt Lake City offered to host the Games, but the IOC, still suffering from Denver’s rejection, declined and chose Innsbruck, the host city of 1964, as its replacement.

The LTA’s vision is « Tennis Opened Up » and the mission for anyone working to make the vision a reality is to make tennis relevant, accessible, inviting and fun. The Corporate Affairs team is responsible for protecting the LTA’s reputation and promoting its work to open up tennis in the UK. The media manager will have a proven track record of landing coverage across a wide range of media (sports, news, consumer, health, social) and will take a leadership role in presenting stories to new audiences, as the Head of Media instructs. As part of the press office team, you will play a key role in answering the LTA’s daily media inquiries.

Mike Powell set the men’s long jump world record of 8.95 meters after defeating his compatriot Carl Lewis in a memorable duel at the 1991 World Athletics Championships. Thirty years later, Mike Rowbottom looks back on an extraordinary night in Tokyo and setting a record that still exists today.

Similar title :
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Thirty years after Powell against Lewis, the greatest long jump match of all time


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