I Believe I Can Fly

World-champion long jumper leaps so far he nearly misses the pit

June 11, 2018

Meet Juan Miguel Echevarria. Echevarria is 19 years old, the 2018 long-jumping World Champion, and quite possibly made of rubber bands. You don't know Echevarria's name because he's a long jumper and no one knows long jumpers' names, but after you watch this, it'll be burned into your brain until Tokyo 2020. Flight attendants, please prepare for takeoff:

What you see there is an astounding 28'11.63" leap (the longest recorded by a non-gazelle since 1995), which propelled Echevarria to his very first Diamond League win in Stockholm on Sunday. Defeating the rest of the field by NEARLY A FOOT AND A HALF, Echevarria just about jumped out of the stadium, jamming his entire lanky frame against the back edge of the pit upon return to the gravitational field of earth. Records aside, two broken legs would probably not have been great, but thankfully Echevarria walked away unscathed.

Unfortunately, he was aided by 4.69 mph hour tailwind, which means that, despite the sheer absurdity of the jump, it is not eligible for an official world record. Apparently only athletic feats that occur in a hypobaric chamber count in the weird world of track and field, but Echevarria's leap earned him something even more elusive: Internet infamy. Enjoy it while it lasts, kid.

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