ARTICLE WAINAO N°4 - THE REVENGE
30 August 1991: MIKE POWELL breaks the long jump world record and become world champion in Tokyo against CARL LEWIS who realized the greatest long jump series of all time.
You rarely have that, two athletes at the highest level in the same sport on a special event like the world championships.
It happened in Tokyo In 1991. For the long jump final, considered by some to have been one of greatest competitions ever in any sport.Lewis was up against his main rival of the last few years, Mike Powell. Lewis had not lost a long jump competition in a decade, winning the 65 consecutive meets in which he competed. Powell came to Tokyo with an 0-15 career record against Lewis. Powell had never beaten him. “He was kicking everybody’s butt for almost 10, 12, 15 years,” Powell said. “Carl was the reason why the record got broken because he was the segue between Bob and me.” Carl Lewis, whose prodigious talent was rivaled by his steadfast confidence that he would one day break Beamon’s record.
The previous record was held by bob beamon for 8,351 days old on Aug. 30, 1991.Robert Beamon is an American former track and fieldathlete, best known for his world record in the long jump at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968. He broke the existing record by a margin of 55 cm. The jump was so long, so unexpected, that the measuring device couldn’t extend far enough to record it. It took about a half-hour to locate and lay out tape to confirm what Beamon figured. Officials announced the mark in meters – 8.90 . Nobody challenged the record within a foot of Beamon through a decade. Then came Carl Lewis, who was destined to break Beamon’s record one day.
Mike Powell was a silver medalist in the 1988 Olympics and was the top-ranked long jumper of 1990. Powell said that his “whole life story is being the underdog ” . After his final workout, Powell felt sure he could do something great. two months earlier, He led Lewis until the final jump during an event but Lewis made his best jump since the 1988 Olympics on his last attempt to win by a single centimeter. Before the long jump final, Lewis won the 100m in 9.86 seconds, snatching the world record back from countryman Leroy Burrell in what was then the fastest race in history. In long jump qualifying the day before the final, Lewis leaped more than a foot farther than anybody else. He then approached his coach, Tom Tellez.
Lewis said “Look, I want to go break the world record,” in the final, Lewis recalled.
All the elements were there for a great battle.
Powell jumped before Lewis.. His first jump was deplorable, not even 26 feet. He said he was so amped up he was almost hyperventilating.
Lewis jumped later and he leaped 28 feet, 5 3/4 inches, with zero wind. That was farther than Powell’s personal best.
Powell moved into second place on his second jump, but Lewis responded with the longest jump of his career on his third. Lewis improved to 28 feet, 11 3/4 inches, just 2 3/4 inches behind Beamon, but with too much tailwind for record purposes.
Powell, nicknamed “Mike Foul”, was over the board on his fourth.
Lewis then surpassed Beamon’s hallowed record by one centimeter on his fourth jump, but with too much tailwind, 2.9 meters per second..
Lewis had just posted the greatest back-to-back long jumps in history. He put on his sweats and sat on the grass to watch Powell’s fifth.
Powell puffed his cheeks, waved his arms like a pro wrestler on a ring walk, attacked the runway and propelled off the board with room to spare. He panged as his body arched back in the air with Beamon-esque height. He gave in to gravity and dug into the dirt with a thud that caused screams from a crowd of some 60,000.
The wind was good. A legal 0.3 meters per second. Powell clapped as he awaited the distance reading. Lewis, in the same sitting position as when Powell embarked on the runway not 30 seconds earlier, stood up. Then Powell saw it — 8.95 — a new world record. Powell cleared Beamon by two inches with a 29-foot, 4 1/2-inch jump .
“Everything I did during my whole life until that point was encapsulated in that jump,” Powell says now.
Lewis had two jumps left and was known to have that killer instinct like Michael Jordan. Lewis thought the same. Carl was sure to leap farther than that and Powell too.
Lewis’ fifth jump was the longest legal jump of his career — 29 feet, 1 1/4 inches — not enough.
Finally, Lewis’ last attempt was “ONLY” 29 feet even. MIKE WON .
Powell will say later that "Probably the biggest reason I jumped as far as I did was we are both competitors and we didn't want to lose," Powell said. "I wasn't thinking so much about breaking the record as about beating him.
The competition didn’t stopped there. Lewis never publicly congratulated Powell. "I'm the world champion and the world record holder. His streak is over and he has nothing to say, really." Powell said.
SO WHO S THE BEST!?
To know more about the subject:
Mike Powell". sports-reference.com. Sports Reference. Retrieved June 20, 2015.
ESPN Classic – King Carl had long, golden reign". Espn.go.com. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
T&FN Boys' Long Jump All-Americas". trackandfieldnews.com. Archived from the original on June 10, 2015. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
Sports Illustrated honors world's greatest athletes". CNN. December 3, 1999. Archived from the original on January 4, 2014. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
Mike Powell". Usatf.com. Archived from the original on September 15, 2012. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
29–4½! Soaring Powell Conquers Beamon's Record," The New York Times, August 31, 1991