SI Vault
 
27'�"—WORLD'S LONGEST JUMP
Tex Maule
June 05, 1961
During a weekend of fine performances in California and New York, Ralph Boston (left) hurled his long, slender body farther than any man before him
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
June 05, 1961

27'�"—world's Longest Jump

During a weekend of fine performances in California and New York, Ralph Boston (left) hurled his long, slender body farther than any man before him

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2

Boston does not look the part of the truly great athlete he is. He is a lanky man, sleekly but not heavily muscled, even in the legs, which carry him farther, nearly as fast and almost as high as any legs have ever carried any man.

"I'm going to compete through the Olympics in 1964," he said. "If I can't make it in the broad jump, maybe I can in the decathlon. I've done 9.7 in the hundred and 13.7 in the high hurdles and six feet nine inches in the high jump. I just fool around with the pole vault to win points in meets, and I've made 13-6. Then I threw the javelin 185-3 not long ago. I never put the shot, and the best I ever did with the discus was 125 feet with a high school discus. I'd have to work out with weights if I wanted to enter the decathlon, I guess."

In almost every other event at Modesto the performances were up to expectations. The one glaring failure came in the pole vault. After setting a world record of 15 feet 10� inches a week earlier 20-year-old George Davies, a sophomore at Oklahoma State who uses a fiber-glass pole, could do no better than 14 feet 6 inches. This seemed to satisfy Don Bragg vastly. He won the event at 15 feet.

Other bright performances

But to more than balance the pole vault, there was Jim Beatty, the tiny distance runner from the Santa Clara Youth Village, who won the mile in 3:58.8, although he was handicapped in his bid to regain his American mile record when his teammate and pace setter, Laszlo Tabori, was forced out after the second lap by a week-old hip injury. And there was a 17-year-old high school boy from Andrews, Texas—Ted Nelson, who upset seasoned opposition to win the 440 in 47 even. Finally, there was a relay team from little Texas Southern, a Negro college, which surprised everybody by winning two races.

"I had invited the Houston team," said Meet Director Tom Moore, "but their coach, Johnny Morris, said he had too many injuries. He told me about Texas Southern. Their coach called and asked if I would bring his boys up, but I could only give him $700 for expenses, although the trip costs $1,200."

Texas Southern came anyway and won both the 440-and 880-yard relays over first-class Abilene Christian and San Jose State.

1 2