- Ask Steven
Three world records in a day
Who once improved an athletics world record three times on the same day? asked Peter Simpson
My first thought was that it was done by Mary Rand in the long jump at the 1964 Olympics, but although she did break the world record that day - with a leap of 6.76m to improve the old mark by 6cm - the feat she achieved in Tokyo was to record six of the top seven jumps in that particular competition.
The athlete who achieved this particular distinction was the Italian Alessandro Andrei, the Olympic shot-put champion at Los Angeles in 1984.
Three years later, at a meeting at Viareggio on August 24, 1987, Andrei first improved Udo Beyer's year-old shot record (22.64m) by reaching 22.72. With his next attempt he managed 22.84m, and with the next Andrei extended the record again, to 22.91m.
That remained the world record until the following May, when East Germany's Ulf Timmermann (who would succeed Andrei as Olympic champion in 1988) became the first man to break the 23-metre barrier (23.06m).
The record has been improved only once since, by the American Randy Barnes (23.12m) in 1990. Jesse Owens did something similar at a meeting in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1935, when he broke three world records and equalled a fourth - all in the space of about 45 minutes.
After tying the existing mark for the 100 yards (9.4 seconds), Owens broke the records for the long jump (8.13m, a mark that stood for 25 years), the 220 yards (20.3 seconds), and the 220-yard hurdles (22.6).