Mike Powell angered by proposal to reset world records

Long jumper says he would ‘slap’ anyone who tried to take world record from him

  Mike Powell celebrates winning the men’s long jump competition during the US Track and Field Trials at the Olympic Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia in 1996. Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons/Allsport

Mike Powell celebrates winning the men’s long jump competition during the US Track and Field Trials at the Olympic Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia in 1996. Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons/Allsport

 

Mike Powell has said he would “slap” anyone who tried to take his world record from him amid the fall-out from the ongoing athletics doping scandal.

The American long jumper broke Bob Beamon’s 23-year-old mark when he leapt out to 8.95 metres at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo.

Powell has reacted angrily to a proposal by Ed Warner, chairman of UK Athletics, to scrap existing records and start again in a clean era for the sport.

Speaking on BBC 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme yesterday, Powell said: “The long jump is one of those events where the record has lasted a long time.

Jesse Owens had the record for 25 years; Bob Beamon had the record for 23 years; I have had the record for 24 years, so is somebody suggesting that something was wrong with Jesse Owens and Bob Beamon, so we have to change those records too?

Second Captains

“Who is this person? Have they ever competed? Do they know anything about athletics? Do they know anything about human genetics? Who are they? Shut up!

“You can’t penalise somebody because you have a thought that somebody did something. To penalise one person – if I was the only one who was clean, it’s wrong to penalise me because of the faults of someone else.

Unfair

Powell went on to claim that cheating happens in all walks of life and that it was unfair to punish athletes disproportionately.

He said: “It happens all over the place in everything. If there is power to be gained, money to be gained, people are going to cheat. Why is track being treated differently to every other thing in society? It’s not fair, it’s laughable, it’s not right.

“I’ve got something that was set 25 years ago and I have got some guy sitting in an office who can take it away from me? Are you kidding me? I’d slap him in his face if he said that to me.”

Speaking on the same programme, Warner insisted he had no doubts over Powell’s record, but found others hugely questionable.

He said: “No one is suggesting that Mike’s record was anything other than clean, but what’s interesting is it was set at pretty much the same time as the men’s world shot put record was set by an American, Randy Barnes, who was subsequently banned for life from the sport.

“I look at that and say why should he hold that record? A number of these world records, you look at and say, ‘I just can’t believe it’.

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