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THE LONG LONG JUMP
John Underwood
October 28, 1968
In an Olympics studded with broken records, none was more awesome than the leap by Bob Beamon, who went nearly two feet beyond anyone before him to help brighten the Problem Games
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October 28, 1968

The Long Long Jump

In an Olympics studded with broken records, none was more awesome than the leap by Bob Beamon, who went nearly two feet beyond anyone before him to help brighten the Problem Games

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Until the Carlos-Smith act got top billing, the Americans had not engaged in the kind of Olympic exercises that make the Games sometimes discouraging. North Korea had canceled out because of a name it could not have; the Czechs refused to eat at the same tables with the Russians; and a Polish athlete, displeased with the musical selections of a group of Ghanaians, threw a bag of water from a window onto the offending radio and its owner, and got a rock through his window in retaliation.

A young Cuban tennis player defected, but the Cubans as a whole were not speaking to anyone who looked like an American. The Kenyans, sensitive to criticism the way a toy balloon is sensitive to the lighted cigarette, were just as tight-lipped. But not so the Russian volleyball coach, who let this one slip out after his team was booed in the match with the Czechs: "My players are not affected by the crowd. If they were, they would not be professionals and they would have been left home."

Through it all the Mexicans maintained their resolve to be accommodating whatever the cost. A Mexican policeman exchanged his badge for a Canadian's maple leaf pin. A guard at the village gate, unable to get a pretty girl to show her pass as she hurried by, shrugged and said, "What can I do? She is woman." Young boys at the village posted themselves by the telephones and, when an athlete came by, offered the receiver and said, "My sister wants to talk to you."

And the Mexicans simply will not become discouraged. The wife of an ABC television executive put in a call for a wake-up ring at 7:30 at her hotel. At 8 o'clock, unrung, she awakened and, in a snit, called the desk. "What happened to my wake-up call?" she demanded. "Hang up, Se�ora," was the polite reply, "and I will be happy to call you right back."

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