Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Bob Beamon’s Olympic gold medal auctioned for $441,000

Bob Beamon, who shattered the long jump world record at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, auctioned his gold medal for $441,000 on Thursday.

The highest bid was $350,000 in a Christie’s auction. The buyer’s premium fee was 26%, bringing the total to $441,000.

“I’ve enjoyed it over 55 years, and I still enjoy it, but I think it’s something for the world to see and someone to enjoy,” Beamon said when the auction was listed in December, according to Sports Illustrated. “I’m 77 years old now. The memories and the love of it is just wonderful. However, I think passing it on would be a wonderful experience for me.”

The record auction price for an Olympic gold medal was set in 2013, when one of Jesse Owens’ four golds from the 1936 Berlin Games went for $1,466,574.

In 2021, Bill Russell’s basketball gold medal from the 1956 Olympics sold for $587,500.

In 1968, Beamon broke the long jump world record by nearly two feet in his first leap in the Olympic final.

The jump was so long, so unexpected, that the measuring device couldn’t extend far enough to record it.

It took about a half-hour to locate and lay out tape to confirm what Beamon figured, that he’d broken the world record of 27 feet, 4 3/4 inches. The measurement: 29 feet, 2 1/2 inches.

Beamon’s record stood until the 1991 World Championships, when Carl Lewis and Mike Powell had a legendary long jump duel.

In the fourth round, Lewis leaped one centimeter beyond Beamon’s world record, but he benefited from a 2.9 meter/second tailwind, which was beyond the 2 meter/second limit for record purposes.

In the next round, Powell broke Beamon’s world record by five centimeters with legal wind. He won. Powell’s world record still stands.

“They said my record would never be broken,” Beamon said in 2014 for a story marking the date that Powell’s world record had stood longer than Beamon’s. “I’ve always looked at it as records will always be broken.”