You know what they say – “Records are made to be broken”, and for the most part, that seems to happen in athletics quite frequently. Take Usain Bolt, for example, he set three world records in two years between 2008 and 2009. At PledgeSports, we find nothing more exhilarating than seeing athletes perform to the best of their ability and writing history in the process. But we couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw some of the records that are still standing!
But some world records are an exception to the common trend. Despite all of the talent that has passed through athletics in recent decades, these records haven’t been touched and are the longest standing world records in athletics to this day. Without further ado, here’s our rundown of the 10 longest standing world records in athletics.
10. Jonathan Edwards – Triple Jump – 22 Years
Edwards capped an unbeaten year with a historic gold medal performance at theWorld Championships, in which he broke the world record twice in the same meeting. On his first jump, he became the first man to legally pass the 18-metre barrier with a jump of 18.16 m (59 feet 7 inches). That record lasted for about 20 minutes. His second jump of 18.29 m made him the first to jump 60 feet.
9. Javier Sotomayor – High Jump – 24 Years
The 1992 Olympic champion, Sotomayor was the dominant high jumper of the 1990s; his personal best of 2.45 m (8 ft 0 1⁄4 in) makes him the only person ever to have cleared eight feet.
8. Mike Powell – Long Jump – 26 Years
At the 1991 World Championships in Athletics in Tokyo, Powell broke Bob Beamon’s almost 23-year-old long jump world record by 5 cm (2 inches), leaping 8.95 m (29 ft 4 1⁄4 in). Powell’s world record, since August 1991, still stands, making Powell the fourth person since 1900 to hold the long jump world record for over 20 years.
7. Randy Barnes – Shot Putt – 27 Years
On January 20, 1989, Barnes set a new indoor world record at the Sunkist Invitational in Los Angeles with a throw of 22.66 metres (74.3 ft), which was better than his outdoor personal best at the time. Barnes later became a long driving competitor, competing to hit a golf ball as far as possible; he qualified for the 2005 World Long Drive Championship.
6. Galina Chistyakova – Long Jump – 29 Years
Chistyakova is the current world record holder in the long jump, jumping 7.52 metres on 11 June 1988. She is the 1988 Olympic bronze medallist and the 1989 World Indoor champion. She is also a former world record holder (pre-IAAF) in the triple jump with 14.52 metres in 1989.
5. Florence Griffith Joyner – 100m – 29 Years
At the 1988 U.S. Olympic trials, Flo-Jo set a new world record in the 100 metres. She went on to win three gold medals at the 1988 Olympics. Shortly after the 1988 games, she abruptly retired. After her retirement from athletics, Griffith Joyner remained a pop culture figure through endorsement deals, acting, and designing. She died in her sleep as the result of an epileptic seizure in 1998 at the age of 38.
4. Stefka Kostadinova – High Jump – 30 Years
Kostadinova is a Bulgarian retired athlete who competed in the high jump. Her world record of 2.09 metres has stood since 1987. She is the 1996 Olympic champion, a two-time World champion and a five-time World Indoor champion. She has been the president of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee since 2005.
Sergey Bubka – Pole Vault – 30 Years
Also joint 4th is pole vault legend Sergy Bubka. He won six consecutive IAAF World Championships, an Olympic gold medal and broke the world record for men’s pole vault 35 times. Bubka has also beaten his own record 14 times. He was the first pole vaulter to clear 6.0 metres and 6.10 metres and held the world record from 1984-2014 which equals Kostadinova’s 30 year record.
3. Jürgen Schult – Discuss – 31 Years
Schult is a former German track and field athlete and the world record holder in the discus throw since 1986. He represented East Germany in the 1988 Olympics in the discus throw, where he won the gold medal.
2. Yuriy Sedykh – Hammer – 31 Years
Sedykh set the current hammer throw world record of 86.74 metres at the 1986 European championships in Stuttgart. Only Sedykh & Sergey Litvinov have thrown over 86 meters in the history of the sport (Ivan Tsikhan’s 86.73m throw in 2005 was annulled by the IAAF in April 2014 due to doping sanctions). His world record is the longest standing in men’s track and field history.
1. Jarmila Kratochvílová – 800m – 34 Years
Kratochvílová won the 400 metres and 800 metres at the 1983 World Championships, setting a world record in the 400 m. In 1983, she also set the world record for the 800 metres, which still stands and which is currently the longest-standing individual world record in athletics. Only one athlete, Pamela Jelimo of Kenya, in 2008, has come within a second of Kratochvílová’s mark since it was set.
Marita Koch 400m 34 years
Koch is a German former sprint track and field athlete. During her career she collected sixteen world records in outdoor sprints as well as fourteen world records in indoor events. Her record of 47.60 in the 400 metres, set on 6 October 1985, still stands.
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