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Christie’s to Auction Bob Beamon’s 1968 Olympic Gold Medal

Christie's is set to auction Bob Beamon's 1968 gold medal 55 years after he shocked the world in the long jump.
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More than five decades after shattering the world record in the long jump, Bob Beamon is ready to move on from his Olympic gold medal.

Beamon famously set the world record during the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City with a jump that bested the previous mark by nearly two feet, and now he says it’s time for a new owner. Christie’s will auction it off during The Exceptional Sale, which opens on Feb. 1.

“I’ve enjoyed it over 55 years, and I still enjoy it, but I think it’s something for the world to see and someone to enjoy,” Beamon told Sports Illustrated. “I’m 77 years old now. The memories and the love of it is just wonderful. However, I think passing it on would be a wonderful experience for me.

Christie's Bob Beamon gold medal

Bob Beamon shattered the world record for the long jump during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

Though the jump was topped as the world record by Mike Powell in 1991, Beamon’s leap of 29-feet, 2 1/2 inches still stands as the Olympic mark. The jump was so impressive at the time that it even inspired the term “Beamonesque,” which describes an unbelievable performance.

Beamon says he didn’t even know what was happening at the moment.

“I just fell to the ground,” Beamon says. “I couldn’t believe it. I thought maybe I had to pinch myself to make sure that this wasn’t a dream … it was actually real. And it took me a while to really get my head together to understand the magnitude of what I had done.”

Casey Rogers, Head of The Exceptional Sale, says Beamon’s medal could sell for between $400,000 and $600,000.

“It allows us to sort of touch the moment,” Rogers said. “This is a tangible object that’s evidence of an Olympic record that still stands 55 years later, incredibly. And it’s something that, again, a collector can touch. It’s a testament to the focus and determination and his status as an athlete.”

Beamon has carried that determination into his post-sports career, too. A music lover before turning his attention to sports at 16, Beamon says he’s often wondered what a career as a musician would look like. Over 60 years later, he’s getting that chance as a percussionist for Stix Bones and The BONE Squad.

“It was almost like training for the Olympic Games,” Beamon says. “It was every day — four, five hours a day, just hitting the drums. And it turned out to be very, very rewarding getting back into the music world.”

Beamon’s recording debut officially releases on January 12 with a live event at The Cutting Room in New York.

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