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Olympic Long Jump Record Holder Bob Beamon Tells Overflow Crowd to “Never Think About Failure”

Posted November 9, 2008

beamonnov11.gifForty years after he obliterated the world record in the long jump at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, Bob Beamon showed that he still can bring an audience to its feet, as an overflowing crowd of some 300 students, faculty, and guests at Western New England College gave him several standing ovations during his talk on November 11. To view footage of the historic jump, click here.

During the event, which was presented by the Center for International Sport Business (CISB) and sponsored in part by the Alumni Association and the Athletics Department, Beamon told the standing-room-only audience that despite the long odds against him given his impoverished and hard-knocks upbringing, he managed to accentuate the positive and focus on goals, one of which was to make the U.S. Olympic Team and after that, to win the gold medal.

“Twenty-two years old when the entire world is actually watching you, you have a couple things you actually look at,” said Beamon. “One is ‘I've got to win.’ You never think about failure, you always think about winning and that is something that is important that has stayed with my for the rest of my life. Sometimes we tend to think about the negative, but the important thing is that you always have to visualize.”

Beamon was a guest of the Western New England College Center for International Sport Business (CISB). CISB director Curt Hamakawa said that “Bob continues to be an inspiration to many; not just his contemporaries who have long admired his still-unbroken Olympic record of 29.2 feet, but also to the younger generations who have been moved to make something of themselves upon learning his life’s story.”


Western New England University is a private, independent, coeducational institution founded in 1919. Located on an attractive 215-acre suburban campus in Springfield, Massachusetts, Western New England University serves 3,955 students, including 2,575 full-time undergraduate students. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs are offered through Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, and Pharmacy, and School of Law.


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