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Long jump, a staple of the ancient Olympiads, has remained a show-stopper in more recent Olympics as well. To cover the most distance with a horizontal jump is the long jump’s straightforward goal. The long jump, however, turns out to be one of the most technically challenging track and field events to master when you look closely at the specifics. In this blog, you will get to know different rules and techniques for Long Jump, Olympic long jump records, and Olympic long jump history.
RULES AND TECHNIQUES FOR LONG JUMP
Long jumpers begin by sprinting, launch themselves into the air at a predetermined location (also known as the take-off board), and attempt to cover the greatest distance possible in the air before landing in a sand pit.
Consequently, there are three parts to the overall course:
- The takeoff board
- The landing zone
- The runway
The runway is 40 meters in length when used for formal events. It is constructed of a rubberized material spread on concrete and resembles a running track used in sprinting mid-distance or long-distance running competitions.
There is a take-off board that is 20 cm wide at the end of the runway. The take-off board and the runway need to be parallel to one another.
A foul line designates the take-off board’s end. For a specific jump to be considered legal, the jumper’s shoe must have the toe behind the foul line when they take off. Jumps that cross the line are considered foul jumps and are not scored.
The jumper lands in the sandpit that is situated on the opposite side of the take-off board after ascending into the air.
The distance traveled is the distance between the edge of the take-off board to the closest indentation in the sand (created by any portion of the athlete’s body during landing).
The long jumper must finish the entire jump within a minute of entering the runway. If they so choose, long jumpers are permitted to wear spikes, however, the sole of their shoe cannot be any thicker than 13mm.
In competitions, an athlete frequently receives a set number of attempts, and the one who covers the greatest distance is rated as the winner.
Athletes often get six jumps in the final rounds of major tournaments like the Olympics or World Championships. The finalists are chosen after a set of three trial round leaps, and they then get three further jumps in the final to compete for medals.
A long jump can be broken down into four separate actions: the approach run, the final two strides, and the action in the air and landing.
The Approach Run
Except for the final two steps, the approach run is practically a sprint to the take-off board.
In principle, using the entire 40m of track available to a long jumper is optimal for achieving high speeds and, consequently, maximum forward momentum before the leap. Athletes may opt for a shorter run-up to have more grip over their leap, depending on individual skill. In their approach run, elite athletes typically take 20–22 steps.
The Final Two Strides
Before taking off from the take-off board, an athlete must complete these last two steps.
The final two steps are intended to prepare the body to attain maximum horizontal distance without surrendering too much forward velocity. Long jumpers often strive to leave the ground at an angle of 20 degrees or less.
To lower one’s center of gravity and position the body for the strongest upward thrust, the penultimate stride is typically longer than the previous. While the body’s center of gravity begins to shift upward in anticipation of the jump, the last step before takeoff is the shortest.
The take-off marks the change from the last stage to being in the air. To have the greatest impact, an athlete must make sure that their foot is flat on the ground. Jumping off the toes or heels will have a negative effect on the jump.
Jumping with the toes causes the body to become unstable and increases the possibility of the legs collapsing beneath the jumper, which significantly limits the distance covered. Jumping from the heels has a braking effect and slows down momentum.
Equally crucial to good foot placement is maintaining proper body posture during takeoff. For their takeoffs, athletes primarily employ sophisticated tactics like the kick, double-arm, sprint, power sprint, or bounding. Everyone has benefits and drawbacks.
Action In The Air
Athletes have limited control over the direction and landing once they are in the air. However, there are actions they can take while in flight to increase the distance covered.
These include methods for changing the body’s shape during flying. Three methods are frequently applied when in the air.
Sail – The simplest of the bunch, the sail requires the jumper to elevate their legs into a toe-touching posture as soon as they leave the ground. This enables the body to maintain its momentum from takeoff and float or sail in the air for longer.
Hang – After being in the air, the body is stretched and lengthened as much as possible. The jumper extends their arms and legs as far as they can go and holds that position until they are at their highest point.
The jumper moves their legs forward into a landing position at the apex.
Hitch-kick – The athletes move their arms and legs during the flight to maintain equilibrium. This maneuver is also known as climbing or running in the air. Of the three approaches, this one is the most difficult.
The goal of a long jumper is to glide into the sandpit rather than simply land there. An athlete might use a variety of landing maneuvers to make sure the closest indentation their body makes to the take-off board is as far away as it can be.
Keeping their feet in front of their bodies while fully extended from the hips is a common concern for athletes. Jumpers frequently move their arms in sweeping motions after landing to support keeping the torso and legs forward.
Therefore, long jump training necessitates the mastery of a variety of athletic skills, including sprinting.
Thus, famous long jumpers like Carl Lewis and Jesse Owens have also achieved success in other track and field events including the 100 and 200-meter sprints, as well as the 4×100-meter relay.
OLYMPIC LONG JUMP HISTORY
With one significant exception, the long jump at the ancient Olympic Games in Greece, athletes used a pair of weights called halteres. At the take-off point, athletes would swing weights—ranging from 1 to 4.5 kg—in each hand forward to gain velocity. In addition, it was one of the events in the well-known ancient Olympics pentathlon, which also included running, javelin throw, discus throw, and wrestling.
Since the beginning of the modern Olympic Games in 1896, the long jump has always been a part of the schedule. In the beginning, it was also referred to as the running broad jump.
Up until 1912, the Olympics also had a version known as the standing long jump or broad jump. Athletes began from a standing position, but it was identical to the running long jump.
Before the women’s competition was added to the schedule for the 1948 London Games, which was over 20 years after the women’s high jump made the list, the long jump was only a men’s sport.
With four straight gold medals from 1984 to 1996, American hero Carl Lewis is the most successful men’s long jumper in Olympic history. Heike Drechsler of Germany held the top spot in the women’s category with two gold and one silver medal from 1988 to 2000.
LONG JUMP RECORDS
World records for the long jump
Men’s record: 8.95m, established by Mike Powell of the United States in 1991 in Tokyo, Japan.
Women’s record: 7.52m, set in 1998 by Russian athlete Galina Chistyakova at a competition in St. Petersburg.
Olympic long jump records
Men’s 8.90m record, was set by Bob Beamon of the United States in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.
Women’s record: 7.45m, established by Jackie Joyner-Kersee of the United States at the Seoul Olympics in 1988.
Records for long leaps made with wind assistance of more than 2 m/s are not recognized. The wind-assisted record of 8.99m, set in 1992 at Sestriere, Italy (with wind speeds of +4.4m/s), is also held by Mike Powell.
Anju Bobby George is the most significant player among long jumpers from India. She became the first track and field athlete from India to win a medal at a world championship in 2003. With a personal best of 6.83m, Anju Bobby George also placed fifth at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. In India, the distance continues to be the women’s long jump national record.