Almanack: Leap back in time

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The Independent Online
AN update on the health of Bob Beamon arrives from Lynn Davies, his friend and erstwhile foe in the sandpit, who Beamon flew over to Miami for a four-day fund-raising jolly last weekend to celebrate the 26th anniversary of that jump.

It seems that Beamon hasn't changed much at all - particularly in the leg department where the old spring is alive and well. Barely had he arrived to collect Davies than he asked 'Can you still jump?', and then leaped up to smack his hands flat on the ceiling of the airport lounge, at least 11 foot up.

Davies couldn't match Beamon for athleticism, but was up to the mark in the nostalgia stakes. Out came the stories about Beamon's inconsistency when jumping ('He could barely hit the take-off board') and how he nearly never made the Olympic final after two no-jumps ('He only qualified after Ralph Boston had spoken to him about his run-up').

Where Beamon really surprised Davies, though, was at the dinner when he took off his jacket and gave a 15-minute performance on the African drums. 'When I first knew him he was a such a shy, shy fellow . . .'