Ralph Boston, 1960 Olympic long jump champ, dies at 83
Ralph Boston, the 1960 Olympic long jump champion who broke Jesse Owens' world record then later had his own mark eclipsed by Bob Beamon's record-shattering leap at the Mexico City Games, has died. He was 83.
The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee confirmed Boston, the jumper called the "master" by Beamon, died on Sunday at his home outside Atlanta.
Boston broke or tied the world record six times during the 1960s. He was the first athlete to break the 27-foot mark.
His first world record came shortly before the Rome Olympics in 1960 with a jump of 8.21 metres (26ft 11in) that surpassed the 25-year-old record held by the legendary Owens.
Boston went on to win gold in Rome, then, nine months later, eclipsed 27 feet.
In 1968, Boston was warming up at the Mexico City Games when Beamon jumped an other worldly 8.90m (29ft 2 1/4in), shattering the record by nearly two feet and bypassing the 28ft barrier completely in a jump that stands among the greatest single moments in Olympic history.
Coming off his win in 1960, Boston was favoured four years later, but a gusty rainstorm and an unexpected performance by Britain's Lynn Davies quashed Boston's hope for a repeat as he had to settle for silver.
Boston won bronze in the 1968 Games where Beamon set his altitude-assisted record to complete his set of Olympic medals.
In an interview with Mississippi Today, Beamon said it was Boston who came up to him after he had faulted on his first two attempts in Mexico City and suggested he adjust his footwork in the run-up.
"I figured I had better listen to the master, and I did," Beamon said.