Lib­byC­leg­gcap­turedtwo Par­a­lympic­golds. Her­time inthe 100m, 11.91 sec­onds, is­fasterthanTomBurke ranin1896 to­claimthe firstO­lympic100mti­tle

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FEATURE -

just 22 cen­time­tres in eight in­cre­ments over 33 years, but in one bound, Bea­mon added 0.55 of a me­tre.

Few con­tra­dicted the suggestion that this record might last 100 years.

Yet the Amer­i­can’s out­ra­geous 8.90m proved more short-lived than the 8.13m record es­tab­lished by the iconic Jesse Owens back in 1935.

Mike Pow­ell (8.95m, at the 1991 World Cham­pi­onships) is still the only man with a valid jump be­yond Bea­mon’s 1968 ef­fort in Mex­ico. Now 48 years old, this re­mains the Olympic record – older than any Scot­tish one.

And to­day, Pow­ell’s world best has lasted 25 years and 60 days, ex­actly the same as that of Owens, now jointly the most durable world record the event has known.

Fos­bury rev­o­lu­tionised the high jump, and by 1980, 13 of the 16 fi­nal­ists were “flop­ping”, a more vi­able op­tion as sand pits gave way to foam.

How­ever, in 2000 an Amer­i­can sports writer dis­cov­ered a news­pa­per pho­to­graph of Bruce Quande go­ing head first at a high school meet­ing in Mon­tana. It is dated 1963. Gen­er­a­tions of high jumpers have been do­ing the “Quande”.

The thin air of Mex­ico aided Bea­mon, and may have helped Fos­bury set an Olympic record of 2.24m. It as­suredly con­trib­uted to a bat­tery of sprint records.

The US set a world best in the 4 x 400m re­lay in Mex­ico City. The Kenyan quar­tet which took sil­ver there was led off by Daniel Rud­isha. Be­fore this, Kenya had won only a sin­gle Olympic ath­let­ics medal. They have now amassed 91 in track and field, and Rud­isha’s son, David, is 800m world record-holder and suc­cess­fully de­fended Olympic gold in Rio.

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