The long jump combines speed, strength, and agility in an attempt to leap as far as possible from a take-off point. This event has been an Olympic medal event since the first modern Olympics in 1896 and has a history in the ancient Olympics.
At the elite level, competitors run down a runway (usually coated with the same rubberized surface as running tracks, crumb rubber also vulcanized rubber) and jump as far as they can from a wooden board that is flush with the runway into a pit filled with finely ground gravel or sand.
If the competitor starts the leap with any part of the foot past the foul line, the jump is declared a foul and no distance is recorded. A layer of plasticine is placed immediately after the board so that any impression reveals a foul jump.
Competitors are allowed to place two marks along the side of the runway in order to assist them to jump accurately. The competitor can initiate the jump from any point behind the foul line; however, the distance measured will always be from the foul line to the nearest break in the sand caused by any part of the body or uniform. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the competitor to get as close to the foul line as possible. Long gone are the days of using a tape to measure jumps; now electronic equipment measures the distance.
Each competitor has a set number of attempts. In major championships this normally comprises 3 qualification jumps. All those jumping beyond the qualifying mark progress to the finals. If this is less than 12 competitors, then the leading 12 go forward even if they have not reached the qualification mark.
In the final, all competitors jump in turn three times, with the first 8 qualifying for a further 3 jumps, but in the order of their positions after the first three jumps (i.e. 8th placed athlete jumps first, leader jumps last). Now the final jump is often in the order of athletes after the 5th jump.
All legal marks will be recorded but only the longest legal jump counts towards the results. The competitor with the longest legal jump at the end of competition is declared the winner. In the event of an exact tie, then comparing the next best jumps of the tied competitors will be used to determine place.
2012 Olympic Champion: Greg Rutherford (GBR)
Olympic Record: 8.90m – Bob Beamon (USA – 1966)
British Gold Medallists: Lynn Davies (1964); Greg Rutherford (2012)
World Record: 8.95m – Mike Powell (USA – 1991)
British Record: 8.51m – Greg Rutherford (2014)
2012 Olympic Champion: Brittney Reese (USA)
Olympic Record: 7.40m – Jackie Joyner-Kersee (USA - 1988)
British Gold Medallists: Mary Rand (1964)
World Record: 7.52m – Galina Chistyakova (USSR - 1988)
British Record: 7.07m – Shara Proctor (2015)
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