Ralph Boston

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 1
Bronze 1
Total 3
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameRalph Harold•Boston
Used nameRalph•Boston
Born9 May 1939 in Laurel, Mississippi (USA)
Measurements187 cm / 74 kg
AffiliationsSouthern California Striders, Anaheim (USA)
NOC United States


Until a few weeks before the 1960 Olympics, Ralph Boston seemed no more than an average long jumper. But in August he beat Jesse Owens’ 25-year-old world record with a mark of 26-11¼ (8.21) and went on to take the gold medal. In 1961 he twice improved the record, becoming the first man to jump 27 feet (8.23), but then lost the record to Igor Ter-Ovanesyan of the Soviet Union in 1962. Boston equalled that mark in August 1964, broke it the following month, and in May 1965, set his last world record with 27-5 (8.35). Boston won the AAU outdoor long jump for six successive seasons (1961-1966), the AAU indoor in 1961, and the Pan American Games in 1963 and 1967. Competing for Tennessee State, he won the NCAA outdoor title in 1960. Boston was also a gifted performer in other events. In 1961 he was undefeated in the high hurdles and won the AAU indoor in 1965. He placed fourth in the 1963 Pan American Games high jump, and in that year headed the U.S. lists in the triple jump. Ralph Boston retired after the 1968 Olympics. He was later an administrator at the University of Tennessee.

Personal Bests: 100y – 9.6 (1964); 220y – 22.0 (1964); 120yH – 13.7 (1961); HJ – 6-8½ (2.04) (1962); PV – 13-8 (4.16) (1960); LJ – 27-5 (8.35) (1965); TJ – 52-1½ (15.89) (1964); JT – 169-0 (51.51) (1959).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1960 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Ralph Boston
Long Jump, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
1964 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Ralph Boston
Long Jump, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
1968 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Ralph Boston
Long Jump, Men (Olympic) 3 Bronze

Special Notes