Competitors sprint down a runway (at elite level, usually coated with the same rubberised surface as running tracks) and jump as far as they can off a slightly raised wooden board into a pit filled with fine gravel or sand. The minimum distance from the board to the indentation made by the competitor in the gravel is measured. If the competitor starts his leap with any part of his foot in front of the board (a layer of plasticine is placed immediately in front of the board to detect this occurrence) the jump is declared illegal and no distance is recorded.
The exact format of the competition varies, but generally each competitor will get a number of attempts to make his or her longest jump, and only the longest legal jump counts towards the results. The competitor with the longest legal jump at the end of competition is declared the winner.
Speed in the runup and a high leap off the board are the fundamentals of success at the discipline, and it is unsurprising that many sprinters, notably including Carl Lewis, also compete successfully in the long jump.
The long jump has been part of Olympic competition since the inception of the Games.
The long jump is also 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 at the 1968 Summer Olympics, a jump not exceeded until 1991. On August 30 of that year, Mike Powell of the USA leapt 8.95 meters at the World Championships in Tokyo. 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 would be swung forward as the athlete jumped, in order to increase momentum, and then thrown backwards whilst in mid-air so as to propel himself further forward. Most notable in the ancient sport was a man called Chionis, who in the 656BC Olympics staged a jump which was equal to 7 meters and 5 centimetres .
Top 10 performers
Accurate as of January 1, 2006.
|8.95||0.3||Mike Powell||USA||Tokyo||August 30, 1991|
|8.90A||2.0||Bob Beamon||USA||Mexico City||October 18, 1968|
|8.86A||1.9||Robert Emmiyan||URS / ARM||Tsakhkadzor||May 22, 1987|
|8.84||1.7||Carl Lewis||USA||Tokyo||August 30, 1991|
|8.74||1.4||Larry Myricks||USA||Indianapolis||July 18, 1988|
|8.74A||2.0||Erick Walder||USA||El Paso||April 2, 1994|
|8.71||1.9||Iván Pedroso||CUB||Salamanca||July 18, 1995|
|8.63||0.5||Kareem Streete-Thompson||USA / CAY||Linz||July 4, 1994|
|8.62||0.7||James Beckford||JAM||Orlando||April 5, 1997|
|8.60||0.5||Dwight Phillips||USA||Linz||August 2, 2004|
|7.52||1.4||Galina Chistyakova||URS / RUS||Leningrad||June 11, 1988|
|7.49||1.3||Jackie Joyner-Kersee||USA||New York||May 22, 1994|
|7.48||0.4||Heike Drechsler||GDR / GER||Lausanne||July 8, 1992|
|7.43||1.4||Anisoara Stanciu||ROM||Bucuresti||June 4, 1983|
|7.42||2.0||Tatyana Kotova||RUS||Annecy||June 23, 2002|
|7.39||0.5||Yelena Belevskaya||URS / BLR||Bryansk||July 18, 1987|
|7.37||N/A||Inessa Kravets||URS / UKR||Kyiv||June 11, 1988|
|7.33||0.4||Tatyana Lebedeva||RUS||Tula||July 31, 2004|
|7.31||1.5||Yelena Khlopotnova||URS / KAZ||Alma Ata||September 12, 1985|
|7.31||-0.1||Marion Jones||USA||Zürich||August 12, 1998|
The Long Jump in Greece
The Greek record for the long jump is held:
- For the men by Louis Tsatoumas 8.66m, achieved on June 2, 2007, in Kalamata
- For the women by Niki Xanthou 7.03m, achieved on August 18, 1997, in Bellinzona, Switzerland.
- Alexandros Chalkokondylis
- Kostas Petridis
- Thanos Bourlos
- A. Papamichail
- Grigoris Lambrakis
- Dimos Maglaras
- Apostolos Kathiniotis
- Dimitris Delifotis
- Stergios Nousios
- Dimitris Serelis
- Dimitris Hatzopoulos
- Kostas Koukodimos
- Spyros Vasdekis
- Louis Tsatoumas
- Miltiades Tentoglou
- Charoula Sasagianni
- Maroula Lambrou
- Niki Xanthou
- Paraskevi Tsiamita
- Chrysopigi Devetzi
- Despina Papavasilaki
- Christina Athanasiou
- Voula Patoulidou
- Eleni Karabesini
- Olga Vasdeki
- Kyriaki Giannakidou