Lewis skeptical about future of long jump

Henry

After 23 years, no athlete has come close to the Olympic record of 8.90 m in the long jump event. Carl Lewis, the American long jump legend, is concerned about the future of this field event.

In particular, Lewis questioned the mindset of up-and-coming athletes.

The 62-year-old collected four consecutive Olympic gold medals between 1984 and 1996, while also boasting two world titles.

He was undefeated in the event for a decade before being beaten by Mike Powell at the 1991 World Championship in Tokyo. Their rivalry is considered one of the most exciting duels yet.

Powell broke the world record that day with his jump of 8.95m.

“Why is the long jump not so popular anymore? Dead simple because no one can jump far anymore,” said the outspoken Lewis.

Miltiadis Tentoglou of Greece won the Olympic title in Tokyo with a distance of 8.41 m, while he also tasted gold at last year’s World Championship with a jump of 8.52 m.

“It is not at all rocket science not. People were excited because they got used to athletes who could jump 8.60m. At the same time, the necessary rivalry was also present.”

Lewis said at the recent World Relays in the Bahamas that fans had “nothing special to look forward to”.

He believes that times have changed and that newcomers are no longer prepared to follow the strict training requirements of a top long jump athlete.

“I don’t think our culture raises children to work hard anymore. The zeal is just not there anymore,” he said.

“And I’m not just talking about athletes now, but also about youth in general. I’m just being honest.”

Lewis considers Jesse Owens a role model – the American athlete who became a sports icon when he collected four gold medals at the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936.

Owens also boasted the long jump title, among other things.

“Owens would have made every single Olympic final to this day. His personal best distance of 8.13m would have earned him the bronze medal in London.”