- Ask Steven
Jumping for success at Olympics
What is the longest-standing Olympic record in athletics? asked Mike Corbett
The Olympic record set longest ago (considering only events still competed for) remains Bob Beamon's astonishing leap in the long jump in the thin air of Mexico in 1968.
The world record at the time was 8.35 metres, set by America's Ralph Boston in 1965 and equalled by Igor Ter-Ovanesyan of Russia in 1967. That equates to 27ft 4.75ins - but in Mexico Beamon stunned everyone by jumping almost two feet further than that, sailing past not only the 28ft mark but clearing 29ft too.
His eventual mark of 8.95m (29ft 2.5ins) stood as the world record until Mike Powell managed 8.95m at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo, but the longest in the Olympics since Beamon was Carl Lewis's 8.72m at Seoul in 1988 - when he produced the four longest jumps of that particular competition.
The longest-standing Olympic record on the track dates from Moscow in 1980, when the Soviet athlete Nadezhda Olizarenko won the women's 800m in 1:53.43, improving her own world record at the time.
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