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Bob Beamon
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Bob Beamon

Robert "Bob" Beamon (born August 29, 1946) is an American track and field athlete, best known for his long-standing world record in the long jump.

Beamon, from Jamaica, New York, set a world record for the long jump at the 1968 Summer Olympics in 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 0.06 m and the largest increase being 0.15 m. Beamon’s gold medal mark bettered the existing record by 0.55 m (21 3/4 in.) as he became the first person to reach both 28 and 29 feet.

The defending Olympic champion, Lynn 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.