Four medals and a very long jump

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 February, 2008, 12:00am

Jumping the furthest

The long jump tells you everything in its name that you need to know. It is an event in the Olympics field programme and it involves an athlete jumping as far as possible from a set take-off point. You have to be quick, agile and strong to be a successful long jumper. A competitor sprints down a rubberised runway and jumps as far as he can from a wooden board into a long pit filled with sand. The length of the jump is measured from the edge of the take-off board to the first mark made in the sand as the jumper lands. The long jump is famous for producing one of the longest-held records of any track and field event. Jesse Owens, the star of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, held the long jump record for almost 30 years. The current Olympic record, set at the 1968 Mexico City Games, is 8.9 metres.


1 The adjective 'agile' means ...

a) moving quickly and easily

b) moving slowly with determination

2 'To take off' means ...

a) to leave the ground and become airborne

d) to land on the ground and hurt yourself

The King of Berlin

The 1936 Berlin Olympics were held during difficult times. Adolf Hitler, the Chancellor of Germany, had high hopes that a German athlete would dominate the Games, but this was not to be.

The star of the Berlin Games was Jesse Owens, an African-American athlete who is still remembered as one of the stand-out Olympians of modern times. He won his first Berlin gold in the 100m sprint and his second in the long jump. His third gold medal came in the 200m and his fourth in the 100m relay. More than 100,000 spectators cheered in the Berlin Olympic Stadium as Owens stood on the podium to receive his fourth gold medal.

Owens' feat of winning four gold medals in one week was equalled by Carl Lewis who won gold medals in the same events at the 1984 Olympics.


3 The adjective 'stand-out' means ...

a) important and noticeable

b) expensive and rare

4 'A podium' is a ...

a) a large wooden box

b) a small platform

Lewis takes the crown

As a boy growing up in 1960s America, Carl Lewis loved athletics. His father told him stories about someone called Jesse Owens who was a role model for all African-American boys who wanted to excel at sports. When he was nine years old, Lewis met Owens at a youth track meet, and from that moment, he knew exactly what he wanted to achieve.

At 13, he started to compete in the long jump, and by the end of his teens, he was one of the top long jumpers in the world.

Lewis qualified for the 1980 Olympics, but because of the American boycott of the Moscow Games, he couldn't compete.

But four years later in Los Angeles, Lewis finally matched Owens' legendary Olympic record.

He won gold medals in the 100m, long jump, 200m and 100m relay. Lewis had achieved what he had set out to do and joined the celebrated Owens in the Olympic Hall of Fame.


5 'To boycott' means to (refuse/agree) to take part in something.

6 'Legendary' means being famous for (a few moments / a long time).

Olympic Fact File

Jesse Owens or Carl Lewis?

1 (Jesse Owens/Carl Lewis) won four gold medals in athletics at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

2 (Jesse Owens'/Carl Lewis') feat of winning four Olympic gold medals was not equalled for almost 30 years.

3 (Jesse Owens/Carl Lewis) could not take part in the 1980 Moscow Olympics because the Americans boycotted the Games.

4 (Jesse Owens/Carl Lewis) won four gold medals in athletics at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.


1. a / 2. a / 3. a / 4. b / 5. refuse / 6. a long time

Olympic Fact File: Owens / Owens' / Lewis / Lewis