July 30, 1976 - Bruce Jenner wins gold in the decathlon at the Montreal Olympics

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His 8,617 points set a world record in the event.

The secret to Jenner’s success was his preparation. In the 1970s, most decathletes trained with other decathletes. Bruce Jenner, however, trained with some of the world’s best athletes in each of the 10 decathlon events. “If you train with a decathlon man,” Jenner told Dave Anderson of The New York Times in 1976, “you can’t visualize that you can do much better. But if you throw the discus with Mac Wilkins or throw the shot with Al Feuerbach, then they’re 20 feet ahead of me. You learn much more that way.”

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(via athleticpoetics)

July 29, 1996 - Carl Lewis, at age 35, won his fourth Olympic gold medal

By the time the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta rolled around, Carl Lewis was 35 years old. Though he was still admired around the world for his previous Olympic triumphs, he had barely managed to qualify for the U.S. team in the long jump and most experts believed he’d be lucky to medal, let alone win another gold. Going into the last of his three jumps, Lewis trailed Emmanuel Bangué of France and his leading jump of 26’ 10 ½” by two inches. Lewis took off cleanly after a smooth sprint and landed face down, but knowing instinctively that the jump had secured him first place, he quickly got to his feet and raised his arms in triumph. His mark of 27’ 10 ¾” was his longest in two years—a full foot ahead of Bangue—and good enough for his fourth consecutive gold in the long jump.

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July 1, 1980 - Steve Ovett of Britain set a world record in the mile in 3 minutes 48.8 seconds

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Getting ready for his upcoming Olympic showdown with Sebastian Coe, Steve Ovett takes down Coe’s World Record with a 3:48.8 clocking in Oslo, Norway. Coe had set a record of 3:48.95 the previous year - July 13th, 1979 - on the very same track. Finishing second to Ovett in this race was some 19 year old kid named Steve Cram, stopping the clock at 3:53.8.

Steve Ovette - World Record - 1 Mile Run, 1980:

June 16, 1985 - Willie Banks sets triple jump world record

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Willie Banks set a world record for the triple jump with a leap of 17.97 m (58 feet 11.5 inches) at the national championships in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.

Banks’ record stood for 10 years until it was finally broken by Jonathan Edwards of Great Britain. Willie Banks is best known for introducing the rhythmic clapping of the audience to the track and field. It is a legacy that has continued on since June of 1981.

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"If you don’t have confidence, you’ll always find a way not to win." - Carl Lewis

Confidence is key and keys open doors.

"Number one is just to gain a passion for running. To love the morning, to love the trail, to love the pace on the track. And if some kid gets really good at it, that’s cool too." - Pat Tyson

That’s cool too.

"Being the first to cross the finish line makes you a winner in only one phase of life. It’s what you do after that really counts." - Ralph Boston

Cool photo! Ralph Boston, right, with Jesse Owens after breaking Owen’s 25-year-old long jump record.

"Find the good. It’s all around you. Find it, showcase it and you’ll start believing in it." - Jesse Owens

"Failure I can live with. Not trying is what I can’t handle." - Sanya Richards-Ross

Oct. 17, 1968 - Bob Beamon long jumped 29 feet, 2 1/2 inches

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Dubbed by many as the ‘Leap of the Century’ Bob Beamon's long jump remained the world record for 22 years, 316 days until it was broken in 1991 by Mike Powell. This is the second longest holding of this record, as Jesse Owens held the record for 25 years, 1935-1960.

video of the jump

Oct. 16, 1968 - U.S. Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their black-gloved fists

U.S. Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their black-gloved fists in support of black power on the medals podium, after they had finished first and third in the 200 meters at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

As they turned to face their flags and hear the American national anthem (The Star-Spangled Banner), they each raised a black-gloved fist and kept them raised until the anthem had finished. Smith, Carlos and Australian silver medalist Peter Norman all wore human rights badges on their jackets. In his autobiography, Silent Gesture, Tommie Smith stated that the gesture was not a “Black Power” salute, but a “human rights salute”. The event is regarded as one of the most overtly political statements in the history of the modern Olympic Games.

"It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret." - Jackie Joyner-Kersee

"It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret." - Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Sept. 26, 1988 - Ben Johnson tested positive for steroids and stripped of his 100-meter gold medal

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On September 24, 1988, Ben Johnson won the 100m final at the Summer Olympics in Seoul, lowering his own world record to 9.79 seconds. Johnson would later remark that he would have been even faster had he not raised his hand in the air just before he finished the race. However, Johnson’s urine samples were found to contain stanozolol, and he was disqualified two days later. He later admitted having used steroids when he ran his 1987 world record, which caused the IAAF to rescind that record as well. Johnson and coach Francis complained that they used doping in order to remain on an equal footing with the other top athletes on drugs they had to compete against. In testimony before the Dubin inquiry into drug use, Francis charged that Johnson was only one of many cheaters, and he just happened to get caught. Later, six of the eight finalists of the 100-meter race tested positive for banned drugs or were implicated in a drug scandal at some point in their careers: Carl Lewis, who was given the gold medal, Linford Christie, who was moved up to the silver medal and who went on to win gold at the next Games, Dennis Mitchell, who was moved up to fourth place and finished third to Christie in 1992, and Desai Williams, Johnson’s countryman who won a bronze medal at the Los Angeles Games in 1984. In the ESPN documentary ESPN 30 for 30 Films: 9.79*, eventual silver medallist Christie states, and footage of the race shows, that Lewis “ran out of his lane… two or three times” during the race, which should have resulted in Lewis’ automatic disqualification.

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Sept. 24, 1988 - Jackie Joyner-Kersee sets world record in the heptathlon with 7,291 points

Jackie Joyner-Kersee is retired American athlete, ranked among the all-time greatest athletes in the women’s heptathlon as well as in the women’s long jump. She won three gold, one silver, and two bronze Olympic medals, in those two events at four different Olympic Games. Sports Illustrated for Women magazine voted Joyner-Kersee the Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th century, just ahead of Babe Didrikson Zaharias.

At the 1988 Games in Seoul, Joyner-Kersee set the still-standing heptathlon world record of 7,291 points. Five days later, Joyner-Kersee won her second gold medal, leaping to an Olympic record of 7.40 m (24 ft 3 in) in the long jump.

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