Cuba’s emerging long jump star 19-year-old Juan Miguel Echevarria almost jumped out of the pit at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Stockholm on Sunday night, registering a huge leap of 8.83m, the biggest jump in the world for almost 24 years.
Unfortunately for Echevarria, a 2.1m/s tailwind on the jump was just above the allowable wind limit for record purposes (2.00m/s), but it still puts him into the top five of all time in all conditions and in the company of some of the great legends of the sport, including world record-holder Mike Powell (8.95m), four-time Olympic champion Carl Lewis (8.87m) and former world record-holder Bob Beamon (8.90m).
Echevarria was not born the last time that someone jumped farther than he did in Stockholm yesterday – when Powell jumped 8.95m at high altitude in Sestriere, Italy, on 31 July 1994, with a huge 3.9m/s tailwind.
The young Cuban, who fell just short of reaching the final at the IAAF World Championships London 2017, has emerged as one of a new generation of starts this year. He broke through to beat world champion Luvo Manyonga and claim the world indoor title in Birmingham in March with a personal best leap of 8.46m.
Echevarria will next compete at the 57th Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on Wednesday (13 June), where Powell will be a special guest. The youngster’s long-term ambition now is to take down Powell’s world record.
Juan Miguel Echevarria (CUB)
Born: 11 Aug 1998. Coach: Daniel Osorio
After jumping 7.47m at age 15 in 2014, Echevarria first came to prominence in 2015 when he produced his first eight-metre jump. Aged just 16, he leaped 8.05m in Havana on 15 May, putting him equal fifth on the world U18 all-time list at that time. At the World U18 Championships in Cali later that year – his first competition outside Cuba – he finished just outside the medals in fourth, seven centimetres away from bronze. He ended the year on a high, winning the Pan-American junior title in Edmonton.
Echevarria opened his 2016 season with a wind-assisted leap of 8.15m. He finished fifth at the 2016 World U20 Championships later that year, just 10 centimetres shy of a medal.
Still an U20 athlete, he improved in 2017 with PBs of 8.19m and 8.28m, moving to equal seventh on the world U20 all-time list at that time. He represented Cuba at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 but missed out on making the final by five centimetres.
In 2018, his first year as a senior although still a teenager, Echevarria made his indoor debut. He won at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting in Karlsruhe and then set an outright lifetime best of 8.34m in Metz. Less than a month later, he produced one of the biggest upsets at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018 by winning gold with 8.46m, beating world champion Luvo Manyonga in an enthralling head-to-head battle.
His progress continued outdoors, jumping 8.40m back home in Cuba before improving to 8.53m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome, finishing a close second to Manyonga. Up against his South African rival once again in Stockholm, Echevarria had the competition won with an 8.50m leap but then sailed out to a wind-assisted 8.83m in the final round. The wind reading, 2.1m/s, was just 0.1m/s over the allowable limit for record purposes.
Top five long jump performers of all time (wind legal)
8.95 Mike Powell (USA) Tokyo, 1991
8.90 Bob Beamon (USA) Mexico City, 1968
8.87 Carl Lewis (USA) Tokyo, 1991
8.86 Robert Emmiyan (ARM) Tsakhkadzor, 1987
8.74 Larry Myricks (USA) Indianapolis, 1988
Top five long jump performers of all time (wind assisted)
8.99 Mike Powell (USA) Sestriere, 1992
8.91 Carl Lewis (USA) Tokyo, 1991
8.83 Juan Miguel Echevarria (CUB) Stockholm, 2018
8.79 Ivan Pedroso (CUB) Havana, 1992
8.78 Fabrice Lapierre (AUS) Perth, 2010
Note: Ivan Pedroso jumped 8.96m in Sestriere in 1995 but the performance was never ratified as a record due to interference with the wind gauge.