On September 26th, Council Member Robert E. Cornegy Jr., Speaker Corey Johnson, Council Member Daneek Miller, Council Member Adrienne Adams, and members of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus (BLAC) honored 1968 Olympic champion Robert “Bob” Beamon with a proclamation celebrating the 50th anniversary of his world-record breaking long jump.
Bob Beamon was born in South Jamaica Queens, New York in 1946 and grew up in NYCHA’s Jamaica Houses. While attending Jamaica High School, he began participating in track and field and it was the catalyst that helped him achieve his full potential. He won the 1965 National High School Triple Jump and High Jump awards. In 1967, he won the Indoor AAU Long Jump Championship as well as the Silver Medal at the Pan American Games Outdoor Long Jump Championships.
At 22 years old, Bob Beamon secured a world championship in the 1968 Olympic Games, with a Long Jump which set a record of 29’ 2-1/2”. This feat, while no longer the world record, remains the Olympic record to this day and has been named one of the five greatest sports moments of the 20th Century. After learning that he broke the record, Beamon collapsed out of emotional shock, and was helped to his feet by his teammates, which has become one of the most enduring images of the games. Beamon is in the National Track and Field Hall of Fame and was one of the first Olympians inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
“Few hall of fame caliber athletes make as indelible an impact outside of their sport as they did as an athlete,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. “Bob Beamon is one of the rare individuals who continues to inspire people to pursue their dreams no matter the odds. As an athlete, as a New Yorker, and as a private individual, Bob Beamon stands as an example of what it means to give back and make the most of your station in life.”
Beamon’s accomplishments extend beyond athletics. After graduating from Adelphi University with a degree in Sociology in 1972, he served as the Associate Commissioner of Parks in Miami-Dade County, along with actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and organized the South Florida Inner-City Games for at-risk kids. He was Chairman of the Bob Beamon United Way Golf Classic, which benefited youth-related programs for the United Way.
The 1968 Olympic Games, held in Mexico City, Mexico, were filled with political disagreement around issues of race and ethnic controversies happening around the globe. The 1968 Olympics produced, perhaps, one of the Olympics’ most iconic moments, in which Tommie Smith and John Carlos, both American runners, raised their fists in a “Black Power” salute.
“Bob Beamon will forever be enshrined as one of the greatest athletes and Olympians in the history of our country, and it is especially gratifying that the genesis of his historic triumph at the 1968 Mexico City Games can be traced back to Queens’ own Jamaica High School, “said Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus co-chair, Council Member I. Daneek Miller. “We are proud to join Council Member Cornegy in acknowledging Mr. Beamon not only for his accomplishments as a track-and-field star but his service to community on behalf of inner-city children, collectively serving to give the term ‘Beamonesque’ a more profound meaning than previously known for.”
“I am proud to honor the legacy of Olympic great, Bob Beamon who continues to empower and support his community” said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “His commitment to South Jamaica and life of service and leadership is a model for all of us who aim to strengthen our neighborhoods.”
“Records are made to be broken, but we’re used to seeing them bested by fractions of a second, millimeters, maybe inches. Bob Beamon shattered records in 1968 and remains the benchmark for excellence to this day,” Council Member Francisco Moya said. “He is a testament to what heights a child of Queens can reach with hard work and determination. Though his records have endured unbroken, he remains an inspiration not just for his physical feats. His lifelong devotion to young athletes and helping them to achieve their goals cement him as a true champion.”
“It is a privilege to join the New York City Council and my colleagues in the BLA Caucus to honor the 50th Anniversary of Olympic Gold Medalist Bob Beamon’s record setting long jump at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene. “Through his historic Olympic achievement and dedication to promoting the importance of youth athletics and perseverance, Bob Beamon has solidified himself as a role model and inspiration for all athletes. Today, we celebrate his profound accomplishments as an Olympian, a sports ambassador, and motivational speaker who has worked to create a new generation of champions.”
To learn more about Bob Beamon, visit beamoncommunications.com.
Photos from the ceremony are available here.