Forget Air Jordan and the “Jumpman” logo. If Nike ever wants to revamp, they should consider an outline of Juan Miguel Echevarria, the jump-teen.
The 19-year-old from Cuba made history on Sunday in Stockholm at the Diamond League meet by nearly clearing the entire long jump pit.
He jumped 8.83 meters (29 feet, 11.5 inches), which was the longest leap recorded in 23 years, and the fifth-longest in the sport’s history. However, because there was a tailwind just 0.1 meters per second faster than official rules permit, his jump won’t be put into the record books.
“I wanted over 8.50m but I didn’t think I could jump so far [as 8.83m],” he told reporters.
Here’s a look at his unbelievable performance.
Echevarria won the IAAf world indoor long jump championship in March. He had his sights set on the Rio Olympics prior to that, but an injury to his jumping leg took him out of practice for two months.
“That didn’t allow me to reach the World Juniors in the best way. I practically lost the whole year,” he told IAAF.
His return to competition was filled with highs and lows, but once Daniel Osorio took over as his coach, he turned into a different kind of athlete, who started training his mind as much as his body.
“There are many factors that must coincide at one exact moment: the speed of the runway, the technical execution, the psychological state of the athlete,” Osorio said. “We’ve done a lot of work on controlling competition nerves that in previous competitions, whether because of youth or immaturity, he couldn’t master.”
Echevarria’s future is so bright that there’s already talk of him breaking the long jump world record (8.95 meters), set by Mike Powell in 1991. In fact, Powell will be on hand for Echevarria’s next competition at the IAAF World Challenge in the Czech Republic on Wednesday evening.
As for if he extends his own personal record, that remains to be seen. In the meantime, here’s to an athlete who could quite possibly change the longstanding dimensions of the long jump pit.