Legendary American long jumper
(Aug. 29 1946, Fla-). Up to this day, still the Olympic record holder (8.90 m, 29 ft. 2 1/2 in.). His world record jump was not broken for 22 years and 316 days.
At the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, there was a strong field of competition, and Beamon was just an inconsistent jumper in the middle of the pack. Beamon failed on his first two attempts. His third jump however, was a perfect one; maximum speed and a perfect takeoff. Beamon soared through the air, and landed with so much forward momentum that he bounced out of the pit after completing the jump.
The whole competition was stunned; everyone knew that Beamon had just jumped well over 28 feet. The optical measuring device was not long enough to record the jump, so officials had to use a tape measure. The officials could not believe the result and had to measure the result a number of times.
Finally, the result was put on the score board, but Beamon still didn't know the score, since it was displayed in metric units. His coach had to tell him that he crushed the world record by an unbelievable 55 cm (21 3/4 in.).
Beamon collapsed; the competition was shocked, in disbelief and in anger. The defending gold medalist, Davies, wanted to end the competition immediately. He confronted Beamon: "You have destroyed this event," he said.
Beamon competed for another five years, but never got anywhere close to his golden jump. He failed to qualify for the 1972 Olympics. His world record was broken by Mike Powell in 1991, but he is still the holder of the Olympic record.