Bob Beamon Interview

Podium reporter Stuart Appleby interviews 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games gold medallist and sporting icon Bob Beamon.

1968 Olympic Games gold medallist Bob Beamon hails importance of education

1968 Olympic Games gold medallist Bob Beamon has underlined the invaluable role Higher Education played in his career whilst revealing his belief that education and sport offer the perfect blend for a student athlete.

The New York-born long jump star, famed for his record-breaking jump of 8.90 metres in Mexico City 44 years ago, studied at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College, the University of Texas at El Paso, and Adelphi University as an up-and-coming athlete.

So much is Beamon’s belief in the value of education, after setting a world record which would stand for 23 years, he is on record as saying he decided to return to his studies rather than attempt to beat his record.

Beamon says: “There’s a great link between studying and sport. We talk about mind, body and spirit. We have to have a healthy mind as well as a healthy body and the spirit has to be in the same accord,” he said, speaking at The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel ‘Art of the Olympians’ exhibition at the Main Wilkins Building, University College London.

“You’ve got to split it when one day you’re an athlete and the next day you’ve got to be a student. I think we perform extraordinarily well on both sides of the fence. We always look for challenges as athletes.”

Beamon, who devotes much of his time nowadays to helping young people, is also director of athletic development at Florida Atlantic University.

He added: “My experiences and learning has been a truly magic carpet ride.”

With Team GB’s class of 2012 under intense pressure to deliver medals at a home Olympic Games, Beamon said the key to success is coping with the expectation.

“In any given situation you’re going to have pressure because this is the top of the line, you can’t go any further (than the Olympic Games) in terms of showcasing your ability.

“It’s going to be nerves, experience and the will to win. We’ll see some great performances, we’ll see some sad cases, we’ll see some surprises, but as we build this wonderful puzzle, we’ll see great things happen here in London,” said the US Hall of Fame member.

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