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One giant leap for mankind – Bob Beamon on his iconic 1968 Olympics long jump and podium protest

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American long jumper Bob Beamon breaks the world record at the 1968 Olympics.

American long jumper Bob Beamon breaks the world record at the 1968 Olympics.

Bob Beamon, 1968 Olympic Long Jump Champion, United States, during day five of the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, USA. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Bob Beamon, 1968 Olympic Long Jump Champion, United States, during day five of the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, USA. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

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American long jumper Bob Beamon breaks the world record at the 1968 Olympics.

You’ll know him from the jump, at least those of a certain vintage will – the earth-shattering, mind-boggling, 8.90-metre quantum leap forward in human performance that carried Bob Beamon to Olympic gold in 1968.

That jump added a whopping 55cm to the world record at the time, the Olympic record he set still untouched 54 years later. Its sheer absurdity only heightened by comparing it to winning distances from the last three Games, set by the best of the current generation in an era of super-spikes and hyper-responsive track surfaces: 8.31m, 8.38m, 8.41m.


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