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