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The Stories of Former Olympic Jumping Stars


Carl Lewis:

The most dominant athlete of his era, Carl Lewis earned nine Olympic gold medals, two in the 100, one (plus a silver) in the 200, four in the long jump and two in the 4 x 100- meter relay, in addition to eight world championships. Lewis also qualified for the 1980 Olympic team but the U.S. boycott prevented him from making his Olympic debut. He owned a 10-year, 65- meet winning streak in the long jump that was only broken by Mike Powell’s world record performance in the 1991 World Championships.

Lewis now lives in Los Angeles. As an actor he’s appeared as himself and as various characters in many productions. His roles have included playing himself in Speed Zone! (1989), a reporter in Material Girls (2006), and he had a role in Tournament of Dreams (2007).

Mike Powell:

Powell set the world long jump record of 8.95 meters (29-feet, 4.5 inches) at the 1991 World Championships. He also won the World Championship in 1993, earned Olympic silver medals in 1988 and 1992 and gained six U.S. championships, in 1990 and 1992-96. He won 34 consecutive events in 1993-94 and earned the Sullivan Award as the nation's top amateur athlete in 1991.

Powell recently ended three years as men’s and women’s jumps coach at UCLA. He currently serves as a track and field ambassador for the IAAF and coaches individual athletes.

2008 interview with Mike Powell

Bob Beamon:

Beamon destroyed the world long jump record with his leap of 8.90 meters (29.feet, 2.5 inches) at the 1968 Olympics, beating the previous world mark by almost two feet. He won NCAA indoor long jump and triple jump championships for the University of Texas-El Paso. He won two national AAU championships.

Beamon has worked in business, public relations and done motivational speeching. Among his current interests is the Bob Beamon Organization for Youth, a non-profit organization designed to benefit children. He runs the Bob Beamon Golf & Tennis Classic, which benefits the Beamon Organization. With his wife, Milana Walter Beamon, he is co-author of his autobiography, “The Man Who Could Fly.”

2008 interview with Bob Beamon

Sergey Bubka:

Bubka won nine world championships (six outdoor, three indoor) plus the 1988 Olympic gold medal. He holds both the outdoor (6.14 meters) and indoor (6.15 meters) world pole vault records.

The native Ukrainian is currently a businessman as well as an IAAF council vice president, an executive board member of the IOC and the president of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine. He was a member of the Ukrainian Parliament from 2002-06. He supports numerous charitable causes, including UNESCO and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, among others.

Bob Seagren:

Seagren won the gold medal at the 1968 Olympics then settled for silver in the controversial 1972 Olympic pole vault competition. Seagren set or broke the world record four times. He won four NCAA championships at USC, plus six National AAU titles and the 1967 Pan- American Games title.

Seagren is the CEO of International City Racing, which plans and runs distance races and other health and fitness events. His acting career included a role in the sitcom/soap parody “Soap,” as Dennis Phillips, a gay football player who has a relationship with Jodie Dallas, played by Billy Crystal.

Dick Fosbury:

Employing the revolutionary style known as the “Fosbury Flop,” the American won the 1968 Olympic gold medal. Fosbury won two NCAA championships at Oregon State.

Today Fosbury is a civil engineer in Ketchum, Idaho. He’s also a spokesman for the French watch company Piaget and was recently elected president of the World Olympians Association, a worldwide organization of Olympians dedicated to “the promotion of the values and virtues that make the Olympic Movement.”

Al Joyner:

Best known for helping coach his wife, the late Florence Griffith-Joyner, to four Olympic medals – including gold medals in the 100 and 200 at the 1988 Olympics – Al Joyner won the Olympic triple jump gold medal in 1984. He also finished eighth in the initial IAAF World Championships in 1983 was an NCAA All-American six times, in outdoor and indoor competition.

Joyner joined the UCLA coaching staff in 2000 as the school’s women’s jumps coach. He also runs the Flo Jo Community Empowerment Foundation, a youth-oriented charity. He wrote “Running for Dummies,” with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Foundation.

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