Competitors sprint down a runway (usually coated with the same rubberized surface as running tracks, crumb rubber or vulcanized rubber) and jump as far as they can from behind a foul line (commonly referred to as the "board", and usually defined by the trailing edge of a takeoff board embedded flush with the runway surface, or a painted mark on the runway) into a pit filled with finely ground gravel or sand. The distance traveled by a jumper is often referred to as the “mark” because it is the distance to the nearest mark made in the sand from the foul line. If the competitor starts the leap with any part of the foot past the foul line, the jump is declared illegal and no distance is recorded. At the elite level, a layer of plasticine is placed immediately after the board to detect this occurrence. Otherwise, an official (similar to a referee) will observe the jump and make the determination. The competitor can initiate the jump from any point behind the foul line; however, the distance measured will always be from the foul line. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the competitor to get as close to the foul line as possible.
Usually, each competitor has a set number of attempts to make his or her longest jump, and only the longest legal jump counts towards the results. Typically, competitors have three trial jumps with which to make their best effort. Higher level competitions are split into two rounds: trials and finals. In competitions containing a final round, only a select number of competitors are invited to return for further competition. The number of competitors chosen to return to the final round is determined before the start of the meet by a committee composed of coaches and officials. It is standard practice to allow one more competitor than the number of scoring positions to return to the final round. For example, if a given meet allows the top eight competitors to score points, then the top nine competitors will be selected to compete in the final round. Taking an extra competitor to the final round helps to allow that athlete to move into a scoring position if the competitor can improve on his or her best mark of the competition. Final rounds are viewed as an additional three jumps, as they do not have any priority to those scored in the trial round. The competitor with the longest legal jump (from either the trial or final rounds) at the end of competition is declared the winner. (For specific rules and regulations in U.S. Track & Field see Rule 185).
There are four main components of the long jump: the approach run, the last two strides, takeoff and action in the air, and landing. Speed in the run-up, or approach, and a high leap off the board are the fundamentals of success. Because speed is such an important factor of the approach, it is not surprising that many long jumpers also compete successfully in sprints. A classic example of this long jump / sprint doubling is performances by Carl Lewis.
The long jump is notable for two of the longest-standing world records in any track and field event. In 1935, Jesse Owens set a long jump world record that was not broken until 1960 by Ralph Boston. Later, Bob Beamon jumped 8.90 meters (29 feet, 2-1/2 inches) at the 1968 Summer Olympics at an altitude of 7,349 feet, a jump not exceeded until 1991. On August 30 of that year, Mike Powell of the USA, in a well-known show down against Carl Lewis, leapt 8.95 meters at the World Championships in Tokyo, setting the current men's world record. Some jumps over 8.95 meters have been officially recorded (8.99 meters by Mike Powell himself, 8.96 meters by Ivan Pedroso), but were not validated since there was either no reliable wind speed measurement available, or because wind speed exceeded 2.0 m/s. The current world record for women is held by Galina Chistyakova of the former Soviet Union who leapt 7.52 meters in Leningrad in 1988.
The long jump was one of the events of the original Olympics in Ancient Greece. The athletes carried a weight in each hand, which were called halteres. These weights were swung forward as the athlete jumped in order to increase momentum. It is commonly believed that the jumper would throw the weights behind him in mid-air to increase his forward momentum; however, halteres were held throughout the duration of the jump. Swinging them down and back at the end of the jump would change the athlete's center of gravity and allow the athlete to stretch his legs outward, increasing his distance. Most notable in the ancient sport was a man called Chionis, who in the 656BC Olympics staged a jump of 7 meters and 5 centimeters (23 feet and 1.5 inches).
The long jump has been part of modern Olympic competition since the inception of the Games in 1896. In 1914, Dr. Harry Eaton Stewart recommended the “running broad jump” as a standardized track and field event for women. However, it was not until 1928 that women were allowed to compete in the event at the Olympic level (See Athletics - track and field).
The length of the approach is usually consistent distance for an athlete. Approaches can vary between 12 and 19 strides on the novice and intermediate levels, while at the elite level they are closer to between 20 and 22 strides. The exact distance and number of strides in an approach depends on the jumper’s experience, sprinting technique, and conditioning level. Consistency in the approach is important as it is the competitor’s objective to get as close to the front of the takeoff board as possible without crossing the line with any part of the foot.
Inconsistent approaches are a common problem in the event. As a result the approach is usually practiced by athletes about 6-8 times per jumping session (see Training below).
The penultimate (second to last)stride is longer than the last stride. The competitor begins to lower his or her center of gravity to prepare the body for the vertical impulse. The final stride is shorter because the body is beginning to raise the center of gravity in preparation for takeoff.
The last two strides are extremely important because they determine the velocity with which the competitor will enter the jump.
This phase is one of the most technical parts of the long jump. Jumpers must be conscious to place the foot flat on the ground, because jumping off either the heels or the toes negatively affects the jump. Taking off from the board heel-first has a braking effect, which decreases velocity and strains the joints. Jumping off the toes decreases stability, putting the leg at risk of buckling or collapsing from underneath the jumper. While concentrating on foot placement, the athlete must also work to maintain proper body position, keeping the torso upright and moving the hips forward and up to achieve the maximum distance from board contact to foot release.
There are four main styles of takeoff: the kick style, double-arm style, sprint takeoff, and the power sprint or bounding takeoff.
The “correct” style of takeoff will vary from athlete to athlete.
In-the-air techniques are generally selected by the athlete and coach during training based on an individual athlete’s skills and experience.
When landing, it is the primary objective of the competitor not to fall back in the landing pit. The jump is measured from the location in which the body contacts the sand closest to the takeoff point. For this reason many jumpers will work on keeping their feet in front of the body at a maximum distance from the hips. Upon landing, competitors will often use their arms in a sweeping motion to help keep the legs up and the body forward. upon contacting the ground, the athlete will push their legs hard into the sand and rotate the body sideways, this slows the vertical (downward) momentum of the bottom and also rotates it to the side of the athlete trying to ensure that the heels are the furthest back body part.
A common tool in many long jump workouts is the use of video taping. This lets the athlete to go back and watch their own progress as well as letting the athlete compare their own footages to some of the world class jumpers.
Training style, duration, and intensity vary immensely from athlete to athlete based on the experience and strength of the athlete as well as on their coaching style.
*Ireland in 1901 was still part of the United Kingdom; however O'Connor considered himself Irish and was competing on this occasion as a member of the Irish Amateur Athletic Association. In the source above he is listed as "GBI/IRL".
|8.95||0.3||Mike Powell||Tokyo||August 30, 1991|
|8.90A||2.0||Bob Beamon||Mexico City||October 18, 1968|
|8.87||-0.2||Carl Lewis||Tokyo||August 30, 1991|
|8.86A||1.9||Robert Emmiyan||Tsakhkadzor||May 22, 1987|
|8.74||1.4||Larry Myricks||Indianapolis||July 18, 1988|
|8.74A||2.0||Erick Walder||El Paso||April 2, 1994|
|8.73||1.2||Irving Saladino||Hengelo||May 24, 2008|
|8.71||1.9||Iván Pedroso||Salamanca||July 18, 1995|
|8.66||0.2||Louis Tsatoumas||Kalamata||June 2, 2007|
|8.63||0.5||Kareem Streete-Thompson||Linz||July 4, 1994|
*(meters), **(metres/second) A = Altitude (above 1000 metres)
|7.52||1.4||Galina Chistyakova||Leningrad||June 11, 1988|
|7.49||1.3||Jackie Joyner-Kersee||New York||May 22, 1994|
|7.48||1.2||Heike Drechsler||Neubrandenburg||July 9, 1988|
|7.43||1.4||Anişoara Cuşmir||Bucharest||June 4, 1983|
|7.42||2.0||Tatyana Kotova||Annecy||June 23, 2002|
|7.39||0.5||Yelena Belevskaya||Bryansk||July 18, 1987|
|7.37||N/A||Inessa Kravets||Kiev||June 13, 1992|
|7.33||0.4||Tatyana Lebedeva||Tula||July 31, 2004|
|7.31||1.5||Yelena Khlopotnova||Alma Ata||September 12, 1985|
|7.31||-0.1||Marion Jones||Zürich||August 12, 1998|
|2003||8.53||Castellón de la Plana|
|2006||8.56||Rio de Janeiro|
|1994||7.49||New York City|
|2000||7.09||Rio de Janeiro|
|8.95 m||Mike Powell||Tokyo||1991-08-30|
|8.86 m||Robert Emmiyan||Tsakhkadzor||1987-05-22|
|8.73 m||Irving Saladino||Hengelo||2008-05-24|
|8.71 m||Iván Pedroso||Salamanca||1995-07-18|
|8.66 m||Louis Tsatoumas||Kalamata||2007-06-02|
|8.62 m||James Beckford||Orlando||1997-04-05|
|8.56 m||Yago Lamela||Turin||1999-06-24|
|8.54 m||Lutz Dombrowski||Moscow||1980-07-28|
|8.49 m||Jai Taurima||Sydney||2000-09-28|
|8.48 m||Mohamed Salman Al-Khuwalidi||Sotteville||2006-07-02|
|8.47 m||Andrew Howe||Osaka||2007-08-30|
|8.46 m||Leonid Voloshin||Tallinn||1988-07-05|
|8.46 m||Cheikh Tidiane Touré||Bad Langensalza||1997-06-15|
|8.45 m||Nenad Stekić||Montreal||1975-07-25|
|8.43 m||Ignisious Gaisah||Rome||2006-07-14|
|8.41 m||Craig Hepburn||Nassau||1993-06-17|
|8.40 m||Lao Jianfeng||Zhaoqing||1997-05-28|
|8.40 m||Gregor Cankar||Celje||1997-05-18|
|8.40 m||Douglas de Souza||Sao Paulo||1995-02-15|
|8.39 m||Godfrey Mokoena||Lapinlahti||2006-07-16|
|8.37 m||Bogdan Tudor||Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt||1995-07-09|
|8.36 m||Carlos Calado||Lisboa||1997-06-20|
|8.35 m||Sergey LayevskiyRoman Shchurenko||DnepropetrovskKiev||1988-07-162000-07-25|
|8.34 m||Nai Huei-Fang||Shanghai||1993-05-14|
|8.34 m||Younes Moudrik||Algiers||2000-07-13|
|8.34 m||Victor Castillo||Cochabamba||2004-05-30|
|8.33 m||Ivaylo Mladenov||Seville||1995-06-03|
|8.33 m||Aleksandr Glovatskiy||Sestriere||1996-08-07|
|8.31 m||Hassine Hatem Moursal||Oslo||1999-06-30|
|8.30 m||Kader Klouchi||Dijon||1998-07-05|
|8.30 m||Andreas Steiner||Innsbruck||1988-06-04|
|8.30 m||László Szalma||Budapest||1985-07-07|
|8.30 m||Ngonidzashe Makusha||Des Moines||2008-06-12|
|8.29 m||Chris Tomlinson||Bad Langensalza||2007-07-07|
|8.25 m||Milan Mikuláš||Prague||1988-07-16|
|8.23 m||Siniša Ergotić||Zagreb||2002-06-05|
|8.21 m||Mattias Sunneborn||Malmö||1996-06-27|
|8.10 m||Erki Nool||Götzis||1995-05-27|
|8.08 m||Mesut Yavaş||İstanbul||2000-06-24|
|7.96 m||Rogel Nachum||Budapest||1990-06-18|