SESTRIERE, Italy -- A long jump that won't count as a world BTC record nonetheless boosted Mike Powell's confidence heading into the Barcelona Olympics.
Powell, already holder of the long jump record at 29 feet, 4 1/2 inches, put together a sensational series of jumps yesterday during a meet on Europe's highest track.
Jumping in the thinner air at 6,600 feet in Italy's western Alps, Powell, aided by wind and altitude, put together jumps of 28-4 1/2 , 28-6 1/2 , 28-10 1/2 , 29-0 and finally 29-6.
A world record would have earned Powell a Ferrari as well as a line in the record book, but a wind of 4.40 meters per second -- or 2.40 beyond the limit -- made it only a wind-aided performance.
"I missed the top prize of the meet, which I hope to capture next year. But I made an excellent test for the Olympics. I proved that I am fit, that I am stronger than in Tokyo, that I can win the Olympic title possibly going beyond 9 meters (20-6 1/2 )," said Powell, who set a world record last year in Japan in beating favorite Carl Lewis in the world championships.
The Ferrari Testarossa luxury car, which Powell had hoped to drive to Barcelona, was the prize for the athlete setting a world record here. It went unclaimed for the fourth consecutive year.
Jump events were the highlight of the Italian meeting, with German star Heike Drechsler hitting 25-0 1/2 , 4 1/4 inches beyond the women's long jump record set by Galina Chistiakova in 1988.
Drechsler almost got the record, but the wind was measured at 2.1 meters per second during her attempt.
She was more upset than Powell for missing the world record by so scant a measure, but echoed the American in saying it was a performance indicating she was in top shape heading to Barcelona.