The successful long jumper requires speed as well as the ability to stride consistently. The long jumper’s goal is to sprint down the runway and hit the take-off board with his/her push-off leg without adjusting his/her stride at any time. This permits the jumper to achieve maximum speed at the take-off point.
The jumper takes off from the board and lands in a pit that is between 2.75-3 meters wide and is generally filled with soft, damp sand.
What to look for:
The jumper’s take-off foot must not touch the ground beyond the take-off line, nor may the jumper’s foot take off from outside either end of the take-off board. Under IAAF rules, jumps are measured from the take-off line to the nearest break in the landing area made by any part of the jumper’s body.
The long jump format varies. Olympic long jumpers have three qualifying jumps. The top eight competitors then take three additional jumps.
Men’s world record:
Carl Lewis entered the 1991 world championships in Tokyo with a 10-year, 65-meet long jump winning streak, but fellow American Mike Powell ended the streak with a record-setting effort of 8.95 meters (29-feet, 4.5-inches), besting Bob Beamon’s 23-year-old mark. Lewis led the Tokyo event, held on Aug. 3, when he leaped a personal best 8.91 meters on his fourth jump. Powell then surpassed his rival on his fifth jump.
Women’s world record:
While men’s long jump records have proven durable – just two record-holders since 1968 – the women’s mark was just the opposite in the 70s and 80s. The women’s long jump record was broken four times from 1976-78 then another six times from 1982 to 1988. Galina Chistyakova of the former Soviet Union tied the mark, then held by Heike Drechsler and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, of 7.45 meters at a meet in Leningrad on June 11, 1988, then Chistyakova promptly beat it at the same meet with a jump of 7.52 meters.