Ralph Boston, the 1960 Olympic long jump champion who broke the world record several times, has died aged 83, USA Track and Field said.
Boston broke Jesse Owens’ remarkable stranglehold on the world record when he leapt 8.21m in 1960 in Walnut, California.
Three weeks later, at the Rome Olympics, Boston, then 21, won gold with 8.12m, just a centimetre further than his US teammate Bo Roberson, breaking Owens’ Olympic record that dated back to the 1936 Berlin Games.
He also won the silver medal behind Britain’s Lynn Davies at the 1964 Tokyo Games before taking bronze behind the remarkable 8.90m world record jump of Bob Beamon at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.
USA Track and Field said Boston died on Sunday after suffering a stroke.
In a statement, the federation said: “Our sport has lost a legend with the passing of Ralph Boston. The greatest long jumper of his time, Boston broke the world record six times and was a member of the inaugural National Track and Field Hall of Fame.
“His legacy and contributions will live on for generations to come.”
Carl Lewis, the four-time Olympic long jump champion, tweeted: “I’m devastated about Ralph Boston’s passing. As a child, I idolised him, and he was a major influence in my life.
“I’ll miss his voice and support. He changed the game as an athlete, advocate and mentor. Jumpers, Know his name!!! Rest with the greats.”
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