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Bob Beamon

Bob Beamon, an American track and field athlete, was born Robert Beamon on August 29, 1946 in Jamaica, NY. Beamon set a world record for the long jump at the 1968 summer Olympic games at Mexico City with a jump of 8.90 m (29 ft. 2 1/2 in.). His world record stood for 23 years, and was named by Sports Illustrated magazine as one of the five greatest sports moments of the 20th century.

Prior to Beamon’s jump, the world record had been broken 13 times since 1901, with an average increase of 0.06m and the largest increase being 0.15m. Beamon’s gold medal mark bettered the existing record by 0.55m (21 3/4 in.) as he became the first person to reach both 28 and 29 feet. The defending Olympic champion, Lyn Davies of England, told Beamon, “You have destroyed this event”, and in track and field jargon, a new adjective, “Beamonesque” came into use to describe spectacular feats. Beamon’s record was broken in 1991 when Mike Powell jumped 8.95 m at the World Championships in Tokyo.