Mike Powell is one of the most successful U.S. track athletes of all time, holding the current long jump world record (8.95M) that has stood since 1991. Mike ended his career after the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, where he unfortunately sustained an injury, as a two-time world champion and two-time Olympic Silver medalist. Mike’s charisma on and off the track made him one of the most popular athletes of his time, and many fans will remember his battle with Carl Lewis during the 1991 World Championship as one of the best competitions to ever play out.
Born in Philadelphia, Mike moved to Southern California with his family when he was just 11 years old, and Mike’s first love was basketball, and many believe he could have been a very successful basketball player had he chosen to go down that road. However during his senior year in High School Mike showed his prowess as a jumper, jumping 23’8 in long jump and 7’0 in high jump, and ended up as a track athlete at UC Irvine. He did end up transferring to UCLA for his senior year, which was however lost to a hamstring injury, and throughout his college career Mike was known for his inability to accurately time his jump and had a large number of fouls, leading him to never score in an NCAA meet.
He hired a new coach in his first season after college, Randy Huntington, and he helped Mike solve his fouling problem which lead to him attaining the number 6 spot in the world in his first year as a professional.
Mike made the Olympic teams in both 1988 and 1992, ending up winning silver medals on both occasions, and was crowned the World Champion in 1991 and 1993. Mike was recognized to be the dominant long jumper in the world between 1993 and 1994, winning 34 competitions in a row.
In retirement, Mike has settled down in Southern California, and is a sought after motivational speaker and also has endorsements with a number of companies, both local and international. He is also still active with Olympic Aid, an organization made up of Olympic athletes that help children around the world. Mike has also been coaching at Cal State and UCLA, helping young talented athletes achieve their full potential.
One of Mike’s favorite topics to talk about is how his relentless ability to focus and “bounce back” helped him become one of the most successful athletes in the world, and how important it is to set clear goals and stay focused on them, even in the face of great adversity.
Mike has also been a presenter on NBC as well as Yahoo Sports, in their coverage of international track events.