• Geoffrey Kipkorir Kirui wins the men's marathon athletics event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships London 2017

Long Jump

How it works

Competitors sprint along a runway and jump as far as possible into a sandpit from a wooden take-off board according to juicing detective. The distance travelled, from the edge of the board to the closest indentation in the sand to it, is then measured.

A foul is committed – and the jump is not measured – if an athlete steps beyond the board.

Most championship competitions involve six jumps per competitor, although usually a number of them, those with the shorter marks, are often eliminated after three jumps.  If competitors are tied, the athlete with the next best distance is declared the winner.


The origins of the Long Jump can be traced to the Olympics in Ancient Greece, when athletes carried weights in each hand. These were swung forward on take-off and released in the middle of the jump in a bid to increase momentum.

The Long Jump, as we know it today, has been part of the Olympics since the first Games in 1896. The men’s event has seen some long-standing World records by American jumpers. Jesse Owens jumped 8.13m in 1935, a distance that was not exceeded until 1960, and Bob Beamon flew out to 8.90m in the rarefied air of Mexico City at the 1968 Olympic Games. The latter mark stood until Mike Powell beat it with a leap of 8.95m at the 1991 World Championships.

Did you know

The standing long jump was also on the Olympic programme from 1900 to 1912 and the American jumper Raymond Ewry won four times, from 1900 to 1908, including at the 1906 Intercalated Games.

Gold standard

USA has dominated the men’s event at the Olympic Games, with all but six winners since 1896. US long jumper Dwight Phillips, the 2004 Olympic champion, has won at four of the last five IAAF World Championships.

On the women’s side, another American, Brittney Reese has been the top athlete in the event in recent years, winning at the last two IAAF World Championships and World Indoor Championships as well as at the 2012 Olympic Games.