Today is the 50th anniversary of Bob Beamon's historic 29-2 ½ (8.90m) long jump from the Mexico City Olympics which broke both the 28 and 29 foot barriers and broke the existing WR by 6.59% - that's the equivalent of someone in 2018 lowering the marathon WR to 1:53:28 or the 100-meter record to 8.95.
It certainly was one of the greatest single accomplishment in sports history, and to honor the feat, we had Jonathan Gault take an in-depth look at the performance. We've just published a more than 5,000 word piece on Beamon's jump.
The question I have is where do you rank the performance on the all-time list of greatest sports accomplishments?
Jonathan Gault wrote:
“Beamonesque,” says Carl Lewis, the only man to have won four Olympic long jump titles. “His jump defined what excellence was in sports. Not track. In all sports. Who else has done that, ever?”
Every sport has performances that make you ask, How did he do that? How did Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs in 1927? How did Wilt Chamberlain score 100 points in 1962?
But those performances are measurements of an athlete’s dominance over his peers. Put Barry Bonds in a time machine and he might have bashed 80 home runs against 1920s pitching. LeBron James might have been able to score 120 against the 1962 Knicks. Beamon was dominant not just against his peers, but in an absolute sense; his 8.90 would have won every competition in the history of the world, save one.