Jozef Szmidt: Double Gold Medalist, World Record Holder, Unknown

From the book
From the book “The Olympic Century – XVIII Olympiad – Volume 16”

He was the best at the triple jump in the 1960s. He held the Olympic and world records in that discipline. He hopped, skipped and jumped his way to two gold medals, one in Rome in 1960 and the second in Tokyo in 1964.

And yet, there’s not much available in English about Jozef Szmidt, triple jumper extraordinaire from Miechowice, Poland.

In addition to being the first human to ever triple jump over 17 meters, Szmidt held the world record for an incredible 8 years from 1960. At the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Guiseppe Gentile of Italy extended 2.75 inches further than Szmidt’s mark. Gentile held that record for moments before Viktor Sanyeyev of the USSR, Nelson Prudencio of Brazil and then Sanyeyev lept progressively further for record marks.