This Day in History – September 30, 1991

Mike Powell breaks the long jump world record after jumping 8.95 meters in Tokyo, Japan


On this day in 1991, Mike Powell broke the long jump world record when he jumped 8.95 meters at a meet in Tokyo, Japan.

The previous record was 8.90 meters, set by bob Beamon in 1968.

Mike Powell, born November 10, 1963, is a two-time world champion in the long jump event as well as a two-time Olympic silver medalist. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he attended high school in California where he became interested in track and field. After high school, he went on to attend the University of California, Irvine where he was a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

After Powell broke Beamon’s record at the 1991 World Championships in Athletics in Tokyo, he became the fourth person since 1900 to hold the long jump record for more than 20years. He was awarded the James E. Sullivan Award as well as the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year.


Additionally, he holds the longest non-legal jump (8.99m) in Sestiere, Italy in 1992. The same year, he won the silver medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. He then won again at the 1993 World Championships in Athletics and yet again at the 1995 World Championships in Athletics.

After retiring in 1996, he became an analyst for Yahoo! Sports Olympic Track & Field coverage. Currently, he coaches long jump at the Academy of Speed in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Today, his daughter, Micha Powell, was officially named to Canada’s Olympic team.

In 2015, Powell made an announcement stating that, at the age of 51, he planned to jump again in competition. He entered the Athletics New Zealand Track and Field Championships, attempting to win the World Masters record, but he suffered an injury during warm-up and was unable to compete.

However, he stated that he plans to jump again in the future. If he does break the Masters record, he will be the only athlete to hold both the current World record and the World Masters record in such an old division simultaneously.


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