x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Mike Powell: Usain Bolt could break my long jump record

The former great says the Jamaican has the tools to take up the discipline, but only after the 2012 Olympics.

MUMBAI // Usain Bolt has all the tools to be a top-class long jumper but the Jamaican should wait until after the 2012 Olympics to give the event a go, according to the world record holder Mike Powell.

Sprinter Bolt won gold medals in the 100, 200 and 4x100 metres relay at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and has said before that he would consider trying the long jump and 400m events.

Powell, who has held the long jump world record since 1991 when he broke Bob Beamon's 23-year-old record jump, said he recognised Bolt's potential in 2009.

"I first talked to his coach and his parents in Berlin after the 2009 world championships when we were staying in the same hotel," Powell said.

"I approached them and I said, 'he should long jump'. They said, 'you know we are talking about that'. I said I would like to be involved with that."

Powell said his own world record — still standing at a huge 8.95m — could be in jeopardy if Bolt started jumping.

"He could jump so far that it will be crazy. The main elements in long jump are speed and height, which equals distance. He's got them both," said Powell.

"He will need the coaching and then the will and desire and bravery to try it. If he does it, everyone will expect him to break the record."

The 47-year-old American said the event would take its toll on Bolt's body if he started before the London Olympics.

"I know for him if he starts to long jump it's gonna take away from his sprinting.

"He is still very young. It takes a lot of wear and tear on your body. It hurts your back, your knees, your ankles, everything. It's very difficult.

"Even under the best circumstances, it will take some away from his sprinting."

Bolt would not be the first sprinter to try to include the long jump in his programme.

Back in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Jesse Owens, the US athlete, created history when he won four golds which included the 100, 200, 4x100 and the long jump.

Carl Lewis also completed that quadruple haul of medals at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles as well as regularly winning sprint and long jump doubles at world championships.