Anniversary of Powells Leap Into History
On the night of August 30, 1991 an oncoming tropical storm whisked Tokyo, Japan with a foreboding wind. In the city’s Shinjuku ward, National Stadium was abuzz in electricity.
Those who considered the sensation to be a precursor to providence and not a calling card of the storm were proved right in the fifth round of the men’s long jump final.
As America’s Mike Powell streaked down the forty-meter long jump runway few among the thousands in the stands could have realized they were witness to an epic moment in sports history. When Powell thrust from the takeoff board strobe lights from hundreds of cameras illuminated the night. Powell landed in the sand pit farther than any man had ever jumped before, two inches farther than the mark countless “experts” claimed would never be eclipsed, Bob Beamon’s twenty-three year-old world record of 29’ 2 ½.”
Four years prior to his history making jump of 29’ 4 1/2” (8.95), Powell’s personal best in the event was a wind-aided mark of 27’ 1”. That’s when he made changes and enlisted Randy Huntington as his coach. Huntington brought Keiser into Powell’s training regimen.
Over the next three years Keiser’s squat, seated calf, multi-hip, leg extension and leg curl machines were utilized for 90% of Powell’s resistance training. “His overall power increased,” Huntington noted.
So too did Powell’s performance. His personal best improved seven-inches to 27’ 8” in 1988 then by another eight inches to 28’4” in 1990. Powell earned a silver medal in the 1988 Olympic games.
On the historic night in Tokyo on August 30, 1991 Powell was locked in a classic duel with another track and field legend, Carl Lewis. Lewis’s third jump measured 29’ 2 ¾” to surpass Beamon’s world record but was nullified by a stronger than allowable wind. After Powell’s momentous feat sports science experts dissected the two men’s performances. Their work found that Lewis, a world record holding sprinter, was faster on the runway. Powell’s “vertical velocity (takeoff thrust from the board) was much greater,” explained Huntington.
Twenty-years later, Mike Powell’s accomplishment has been hailed the greatest achievement in track and field history and among the supreme exploits in all of sports. Randy Huntington, who is now Director of Global Marketing for Keiser believes the company’s unique pneumatic resistance equipment played a significant role in Mike Powell’s success. “He went one way then went to Keiser and saw the fluctuation in performance,” Huntington recalled. “It was not surprising to see those changes.”