Fab five: world record-breakers at the World Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright
Series

Fab Five: world records set at the World Championship

In the latest of our Fab Five series we focus on a clutch of world champions who also garnished their considerable achievement with the elation of also posting a world record.

 

Stefka Kostadinova - 2.09m

The Bulgarian high jump ace lit up the 1987 IAAF World Championships in Rome with a stunning 2.09m clearance to add 2cm to the world record mark. Staring defeat in the face after two failures at 2.04m she successfully dodged the bullet with a successful third time clearance. At the second time of asking Kostadinova then soared over 2.06m and with the gold medal already in her pocket, the 22-year-old then achieved her historic clearance. The leaping legend claimed a second world title eight years later and some 32 years on her world record mark remains unsurpassed.

 

Mike Powell - 8.95m

Carl Lewis may have produced the greatest six-round long jump series in history at the 1991 Tokyo World Championships but that counted for little as his fellow American Mike Powell captured the gold medal with a career-defining world record leap. Universally regarded as the greatest long jump competition in history, Lewis, the defending champion and pre-event favourite, took control from the opening round and a monster wind-aided 8.91m effort (1cm further than Bob Beamon’s long-standing world record, although beyond the 2.0m/s tailwind for record purposes) in round four further solidified his dominant position. However, a sensational 8.95m from the long-limbed Powell in round five spectacularly denied Lewis.

 

Jonathan Edwards - 18.29m

Like a pebble skimming across the water, the unassuming Brit lit up the 1995 Gothenburg World Championships by setting not one but two triple jump world records. Having added 1cm on to the world record just three weeks earlier with a 17.98m effort in Salamanca, Edwards came into the competition in white-hot form. A giant first effort of 18.16m – tacked a further 18cm on to his world record- before he pierced the sand with a mighty 18.29m in round two – a mark which still remains top of the all-time lists.

 

Usain Bolt - 9.58 and 19.19

The most glittering athletics career of the modern age reached its apogee at the 2009 World Championships when the Jamaican icon advanced both his world 100m and 200m records to a mind-boggling new standard. The lanky Bolt swaggered to a 9.58 100m clocking – to wipe a gargantuan 0.11 from his world record time set at the previous summer’s Beijing Olympics. He then obliterated his 200m world record by precisely the same margin, to record a scarcely believable 19.19 – just one day before his 23rd birthday. Ten years on both world records remain firmly intact.

 

Ashton Eaton - 9045 pts

At the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, the multi-eventing maestro knitted together the finest two days of his decathlon career to add 6pts to his three-year-old world record with a brilliant 9045pts total. The charismatic and affable American set the foundation for his world record with a World Championship 100m decathlon best of 10.23 and then a world decathlon 400m record of 45.00 (a mark which would have been good enough to place seventh in the individual 400m final in Beijing) on a stunning first day of competition. Requiring a 4:18.25 1500m to lower his existing world record he dipped 0.73 under that time to ensure his historic gold medal winning total. It was also the first decathlon world record to be set a major championship for 31 years.

Steve Landells for the IAAF