This Day in Track & Field-July 29-Ivan Pedroso's 8.95m, by Walt Murphy, note by Larry Eder

Ivan Pedroso, Cuba, Athens 2004, photo by

1995 was the first time I went to a World Championship-Gothenburg, Sweden! It was a magical event. I witnessed Jonathan Edward's triple jump world records, and, for the first time, watched with fascination, international sport press conferences.

Two interviews come to mind. The first was Venuste Niyongabo's text book French, as he described leaving Burundi, then in civil war, trying to get to Sweden, and nearly loosing his life. Niyongabo was rewarded with the bronze at the 1,500 meters for his efforts in Gothenburg. (In 1996, he would move up to the 5,000 meters and take the gold in Atlanta). 

The second was Ivan Pedroso, of Cuba, who thanked Fidel Castro for his support and gave all praise to his country's leader, after winning his medal (Pedroso would win the Olympic Gold in 2000, with a jump of 8.55m. He was the first Olympic gold medalist in the long jump since 1980 not to have the name, Carl Lewis). In his storied career, Ivan Pedroso would win four Outdoor World Champs, and five Indoor World Champs, plus the Olympic gold in 2000! 

The picture above shows Pedroso in 2004, in Athens, where Dwight Phillips took the Olympic mantle. 

This Day in Track & Field

July  29

--Cuba's Ivan Pedroso apparently broke Mike Powell's World Record in the long jump(29-4  1/2 [8.95m]) when he reached out to 29-4  3/4(8.96m) in the jumper-friendly altitude (6,726') of Sestriere, Italy, but Italian officials never submitted the mark to the IAAF for official ratification. The wind-reading for Pedroso's big jump was a legal 1.2mps, but, after looking at videotapes taken during the competition, they determined that an Italian coach,  Luciano Gemello, stood in front of the wind gauge during every one of the Cuban's six jumps.
     "Each time Pedroso got up to jump, the man would go and stand up right in front of the anonometer," theItalian federation's spokesman, Enrico Jacomini, said at the time. "He stood half a foot in front of the anonometer. He stood there for all six of Pedroso's jumps and for no one else's. We spoke to the man. He said he was very fond of the long jump, and because Pedroso was the best long-jumper in the field, he was interested only in Pedroso. "We have a feeling he interfered with the wind," Jacomini said.
     It was reported that Pedroso was allowed to keep the $130,000 Ferrari that was traditionally given as a bonus to anyone breaking a World Record at the meet!
     Powell had jumped 29-6(8.99m) here in 1992, but his mark was aided by a strong tailwind(4.4mps). When told that Pedroso's mark wouldn't be submitted, Powell said, "
It feels good to say I'm still the world record holder. I didn't realize how much it meant to me".
     Pedroso went on to become one of the greatest long-jumpers in history, winning a total of nine World Championship titles (four outdoor, five indoor). He also won the gold medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

NY Times Stories:
Pedroso Retires(2007):

--John Kuck won the gold medal in the shot put at the Amsterdam Olympics with a World Record toss of 52-3/4(15.87m).  Finishing 2nd(51-8/15.87m) was Herman Brix, who later  became better known as actor Bruce Bennett(Tarzan). 
Brix Obituary:
--Winner of the 800 4 days earlier, Alberto Juantorena completed his Olympic double in Montreal by winning the 400-meters in 44.26.
1982--Finland is well-known for its love of the javelin, so the fans in attendance in Helsinki were thrilled when homegrown hero Tiina Lillak threw 237-6(72.40m).to become its first female World Record holder in the event.
1987--East Germany's Petra Felke threw 258-10(78.90m) to regain the World Record in the javelin from England's Fatima Whitbread, who threw 254-1(77.44m) the previous year. Felke improved the record to 262-5(80.00m) the following year and that would stand until a new implement was introduced in 1999.
1989--33 years after Charlie Dumas became history's first 7-footer in 1956, Cuba's Javier Sotamayor became the first man ito clear 8-feet in the high jump, getting over that exact height(2.44m) in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Other events in history(
1928 - Walt Disney's "Steamboat Willie" is released (Mickey Mouse)
               ;                               ;
1936 - RCA shows 1st real TV program (dancing, film on locomotives, Bonwit Teller fashion
                    show & monologue from Tobacco Road & comedy)
1957 - Jack Paar's Tonight show premieres

More at:
The #1 song on this day in history--1890s to present:

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