MIke Rowbottom ©ITG

Twenty years ago this week a "skinny-looking, very ordinary guy" - his own description - hit the take-off board in Gothenburg's Ullevi stadium at high speed. By the time his effort came to an end he had left a mark in the sand which, while it was soon smoothed away by an official brush, remains to this day in the form of a world triple jump record of 18.29 metres. Jonathan Edwards, ordinary guy, had done something extraordinary.

It was, in fact, the second world record of the day at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships for the 29-year-old Briton. He had opened up in the final by becoming the first man to better 18m with a following wind legal for record purposes, reaching 18.16m. His second round made him the first to better 60 feet.

Since those startling deeds of August 7, 1995 no one has come closer than 20 centimetres to Edwards's best legal mark. The 18.09m jumped by home athlete Kenny Harrison at the following year's Atlanta Olympics shifted Edwards, who had managed 17.88m, to the silver medal position. The Gateshead Harrier would have to wait another four years, until Sydney, to put that right...

The next five best marks of all-time have been set within the last two years as a new generation of triple jumpers approach the Edwards Summit like so many ambitious mountaineers.

But while Teddy Tamgho of France, who jumped 18.04m to win the 2013 world title in Moscow, Olympic champion Christian Taylor of the United States, who has jumped 18.04m and 18.06m in IAAF Diamond League meetings this year, and Cuba's Pedro Pablo Pichardo, who has managed 18.06m and 18.08m this season, have all established camp at high altitude, they still have to negotiate the Everest North Ridge.

Britain's Jonathan Edwards reacts after setting the world triple jump record of 18.29m at the 1995 IAAF World Championships in Gothenburg. On August 7, the record will have lasted 20 years ©Getty Images
Britain's Jonathan Edwards reacts after setting the world triple jump record of 18.29m at the 1995 IAAF World Championships in Gothenburg. On August 7, the record will have lasted 20 years ©Getty Images
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