Mike Powell

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameMichael Anthony "Mike"•Powell
Used nameMike•Powell
Born10 November 1963 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA)
Measurements188 cm / 77 kg
AffiliationsFoot Locker Athletic Club, New York (USA)
NOC United States
Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 2
Bronze 0
Total 2


Mike Powell was a long jumper who competed at three Olympic Games (1988-96), winning silver medals in 1988 and 1992 behind Carl Lewis, but he is best known for winning the greatest long jump competition in the history of the sport, when he defeated Lewis at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo.

At that meet Powell jumped 8.95 metres (29-4½) to finally break the vaunted world record set by Bob Beamon at the 1968 Olympics. In that competition, Lewis led through the first four rounds, and bettered Beamon’s mark in round four with 8.91 metres, although it was wind-aided. Powell responded with his world record leap in round five. Lewis came back with 8.87 in round five and 8.84 in the final round, but it was not enough and Powell had the gold medal and the world record. He won another gold at the 1993 World Championships and a silver at the 1995 Worlds.

Powell attended UC Irvine and later UCLA, although he did not reach his peak until after college. He was a six-time US Champion in the long jump, winning in 1990 and 1992-96. He was ranked in the world top 10 eleven times between 1985-96, ranking #1 in 1990-91 and 1993-94. In 1992, at a meet in Sestriere, Italy, Powell jumped 8.99 metres (29-5¾), and although wind-aided, it remains (through 2016) the longest jump ever recorded.

For his 1991 world record he was named the Sullivan Award Winner in the US and was named BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year. He later became a coach, teaching at the Academy of Speed in Rancho Cucamonga, California.

Personal Best: LJ – 8.95 (1991).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1988 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Mike Powell
Long Jump, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
1992 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Mike Powell
Long Jump, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
1996 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Mike Powell
Long Jump, Men (Olympic) 5

Special Notes