BEAMON Bob (1946) United States / Track and Field
The American long jumper's feat on October 18th 1968 at the Mexico games has gone down in history as being one of the most amazing achievements of this century. Reaching the 8.90 m mark in the long jump, he added 55 cm on to the world record.It was what could be called a winning jump in more ways than one!When the judges started to measure Beamon's jump, their instrument was too short. Beamon himself did not fully appreciate the extent of his achievement, as he was not familiar with the metric system. He started jumping for joy only when a conversion to imperial measurements had been calculated, and the moment he stopped jumping to kiss the ground, the storm which had been boiling up overhead for sometime, finally broke.His record was only broken in the 1993 world championships by the American Mike Powell, who jumped 8.93 m. Orphaned at a very young age, Beamon eventually went on to profit from his success. He became rich and famous. But he was to squander his fortune. After a career as a travelling salesman, he devoted his life to teaching poor children in New York, the city of his youth.