Gold medal distances in the long jump at the Summer Olympics 1896-2016

The long jump has been a permanent fixture in the men's Olympic schedule since 1896, and the women's long jump was first introduced in 1948. The wining distances have generally increased over time, although the men's Olympic record of 8.9 meters was set by the US' Bob Beamon in 1968 (a record that would stand for 23 years), and the women's Olympic record of 7.4 meters was set by the US' Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 1988. The world records have also stood for extended periods of time, with the US' Mike Powell setting the men's record at 8.95 meters in 1991, and the Soviet Union's Galina Valentinova Chistyakova set the women's record at 7.52 meters in June 1988 (three months before winning Olympic Bronze). In Olympic history, the United States have, by far, had the most success in this event, taking 22 out of 28 golds in the men's event, and an additional three golds in the women's. Germany's Heike Drechsler is the only female athlete to win two Olympic golds in the long jump in 1992 and 2000, in addition to the silver medal she won for East Germany in 1988.

Carl Lewis

The most successful and decorated Olympian in the history of the long jump is the United States' Carl Lewis. By winning gold in all men's Olympic long jumps between 1984 and 1996, Lewis is just one of three Olympians in history to win four consecutive golds in the same event; the others, also from the US, were Al Oerter in the discus throw between 1946 and 1968, and Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly between 2004 and 2016). In addition to his long jump golds, Lewis also claimed gold in the 100m in 1984 and 1988, in the 200m in 1984, and in the 4x100m in 1984 and 1992; these nine golds make Lewis the most successful Olympian in the field of Athletics, along with Finland's Paavo Nurmi. He is also the only athlete to match Jesse Owens' "sprint-jump quadruple", winning gold in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m and long jump in the same Olympic games. Regarded by many as the greatest athlete of the twentieth century, Lewis retired in 1996; his career has since divulged into several fields, such as acting and politics, and he continues to be a presence in athletics through his coaching and punditry work.

Gold medal winning distances in the Men's and Women's long jump at the Summer Olympics from 1896 to 2016

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Release date




Survey time period

1896 to 2016

Supplementary notes

This data was collected using the official site, as well as a spreadsheet from the Guardian that includes data from 1896-2008 (available here), 2012 and 2016 data was compared with that from Encyclopaedia Britannica, and several news outlets were used to update the table when medals were reassigned (i.e. for doping offenses).

The winning athletes (male listed first) and their represented countries are as follows:
1896 - Ellery Clark (US)
1900 - Alvin Kraenzlein (US)
1904 - Meyer Prinstein (US)
1908 - Frank Irons (US)
1912 - Albert Gutterson (US)
1920 - William Petersson (Sweden)
1924 - William De Hart Hubbard (US)
1928 - Edward Barton Hamm (US)
1932 - Edward Lansing Gordon (US)
1936 - Jesse Owens (US)
1948 - Willie Steele (US) & Olga Gyrmait (Hungary)
1952 - Jerone Biffle (US) & Yvette Williams (New Zealand)
1956 - Gregory Bell (US) & Elżbieta Krzesińska (Poland)
1960 - Ralph Boston (US) & Vera Kolashnikova-Krepkina (Soviet Union)
1964 - Lynn Davies (Great Britain) & Mary Rand (Great Britain)
1968 - Bob Beamon (US) & Viorica Viscopoleanu (Romania)
1972 - Randy Williams (US) & Heide Rosendahl (West Germany)
1976 - Arnie Robinson (US) & Angela Voigt (East Germany)
1980 - Lutz Dombrowski (East Germany) & Tatiana Kolpakova (Soviet Union)
1984 - Carl Lewis (US) & Anisoara Cusmir-Stanciu (Romania)
1988 - Carl Lewis (US) & Jackie Joyner (US)
1992 - Carl Lewis (US) & Heike Drechsler (Germany)
1996 - Carl Lewis (US) & Chioma Ajunwa (Nigeria)
2000 - Ivan Pedroso (Cuba) & Heike Drechsler (Germany)
2004 - Dwight Phillips (US) & Tatyana Lebedeva (Russia)
2008 - Irving Saldino (Panama) & Maurren Higa Maggi (Brazil)
2012 - Greg Rutherford (Great Britain) & Brittney Reese (US)
2016 - Jeff Henderson (US) & Tianna Bartoletta (US)

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