Olympic Gold Medalist Bob Beamon '72, '00 (Hon.), will be the featured guest in “A Giant Leap in a Time of Struggle," a discussion scheduled for Thursday, February 4, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. A collaboration of Adelphi Athletics and the “Great Minds, Great Conversations" series, the event is also part of the University's observance of Black History Month.
Ron Lee ’67, chair of Adelphi University’s Board of Trustees, will interview Beamon about his unbroken 52-year-old Olympic record, his time at Adelphi and his reflections on the Black Power movement.
“I remember Beamon’s record-shattering long jump and the impact that had on the entire sports world,” said Lee, who was a member of the track and field team during his time at Adelphi. “No human had ever jumped that far. The distance by which he exceeded the previous record was unfathomable. I want us all to know what Bob Beamon was thinking at the moment leading into the jump and how he faced challenges afterward.”
A Queens, New York, native, Beamon is best known for setting an 8.9-meter long-jump record—55 centimeters more than the previous record—at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Sports Illustrated named the jump as one of the five greatest sports moments of the 20th century, and in sports lingo, the word beamonesque is used to describe a spectacular and unexpected feat. His other achievements include induction into the National Track and Field, New York Track and Field, and U.S. Olympic halls of fame and being named to ESPN’s Top 100 Athletes in History.
Beamon’s activism dates back to his collegiate days serving as an active voice in protesting racism and promoting equal rights. As a student-athlete at The University of Texas at El Paso, Beamon, together with eight of his teammates, boycotted a track meeting against Brigham Young University due to the Book of Mormon’s teachings on race. Beamon and his fellow teammates were later thrown off the team and had their scholarships revoked.
Since competing in the Olympics and graduating from Adelphi, Beamon has committed himself to helping the youth of America. In addition to working with the United Way and the South Florida Inner-City Games, he currently serves on the Jesse Owens Foundation Board of Directors and is the newly selected Special Olympics Global Ambassador.
The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.