A walk in the park and a leap into history!

Here's a look at some of the other world records that have given us that amazing feeling at the Olympics over the years


Usain Bolt broke the 100m World Record in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.   -  Reuters

Bob Beamon with his "Beamonesque" jump!   -  The Hindu Photo Library

Nadia Comaneci performs her routine during the 1976 Montreal Olympics.   -  Getty Images

Michael Phelps with his eight gold medals!   -  Reuters

Jesse Owens in action during the Berlin Olympics.   -  Getty Images

How often does one make winning 100m titles at major championships look like a jog in the park, occasionally celebrating even before the race is over.

Usain Bolt, the man popularly known as ‘Lightning Bolt’, could do this and more.

Probably the most-loved and watched athletics superstar, the Jamaican has always come good on the big stage. At the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, he became the first man in Olympic history to take both the 100m (9.69s) and 200m (19.30s) titles in world record times. And he also helped the Jamaican team smash the 4x100m relay world record, clocking 37.10s. He brought them down further after that.

Let’s have a look at some of the other world records that have given us that amazing feeling at the Olympics over the years. This is not in any order though and does not resemble a full bag in the Olympics that have been running for 120 years but just the few that immediately spring to mind.


Six seconds! That’s right, that’s all it took for Bob Beamon to leap into history at the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

The conditions were perfect Mexico City that day. The wind was a perfect two metres per second, the maximum allowed for a record, and the altitude of Mexico also helped Beamon’s cause.

The 22-year-old American long jumper took 19 strides down the runway, ascended to a height of six feet, floated in the air like a bird and finally landed with an amazing 8.90m, which was 55cms more than the then world record. That’s almost two feet more!

He not just broke the world record, he demolished it.

One could understand when Soviet jumper Igor Ter-Ovanesyan said, “compared to this jump, we are children.”

And Englishman Lynn Davies, the defending Olympic champion, told Beamon, “you have destroyed this event.”

It was record that taunted long jumpers for nearly 23 years until another American Mike Powell shattered it in August 1991 with an 8.95m jump at Tokyo. No wonder they call big jumps ‘Beamonesque’ even now.


While Beamon was all speed and power, there was one record that was all grace.

Romanian Nadia Comaneci, just 14 became the first gymnast to score a perfect 10 in Olympic history with her uneven bar routine in the team compulsory exercises at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

That was a major sporting landmark and could be compared to the first sub-four-minute mile or the sub-10-second 100m. She followed it by scoring two 10s in the team optional exercises on 19 July, two more in the individual combined exercises competition on 21 July, and two more in the individual apparatus finals on 23 July.

She also became the youngest-ever women’s Olympic gymnastics champion and won three golds at the 1976 Olympics and two more in the 1980 Summer Games.


American Michael Phelps had just one goal in mind when he went to the Beijing Olympics in 2008. He wanted to beat fellow-American Mark Spitz’s haul of seven golds in a single Olympics with an eight-gold tally.

He took the first six with world records but the seventh, in the 100m butterfly, was a bit controversial and he was adjudged to have won by one-hundredth of a second.

Many believed that Serbian Milorad Cavic had touched the wall ahead of Phelps. Omega, the Games official timekeeper, admitted that Cavic had touched the wall first but that Phelps’ force on the touchpad was the key to stopping the clock one hundredth of a second faster.

The man, famously known as the ‘The Phenomenon’ and ‘The Fish’ took his eighth gold medal in the 4x100m medley relay, in another record time.


At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Michael Johnson won a golden double and became the first male athlete ever to win both the 200m and 400m at the same Olympics. And in the 200m, not only did he break his own world record time while clocking 19.32s, he broke it by more than three-tenths of a second, the largest ever trimming of the world record in the event. It was a titanic achievement, almost comparable to Bob Beamon’s Mexico City long jump.

It took another amazing sprinter, Usain Bolt, to break Johnson’s world record at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.


American Jesse Owens, the man who set five world records and equalled one within the space of an hour in Michigan on May 25 1935, came to the Olympics in Berlin the next year as the big star.

And he went on to break two world records, in the 200m and the 4x100m relay, on his way to four golds including one in the relay.

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