Skip to main content

At Long Last, Shinnick's World Record Ratified

Jul 19, 2021

SEATTLE - One of the most remarkable stories in University of Washington Athletics history finally has its satisfying final chapter, fifty-eight years after the plot twist that set it all in motion. At the recently completed U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Husky Hall of Famer Phil Shinnick was recognized as having officially set the World Record in the long jump back in 1963. A plaque commemorating his record was presented to Shinnick at Hayward Field by current World Record-holder Mike Powell.

Back on May 25 at the California Relays in Modesto, California, Shinnick, just a sophomore at 19-years-old, jumped a stunning 8.33-meters to surpass the previous World Record by two centimeters. He also defeated 1960 Olympic Gold Medalist Ralph Boston by three centimeters in the same meet.

But the drama all started due to the wind gauge not being in use during Shinnick's leap, and despite testimony from competitors and officials that the tailwind was negligible or nonexistent, the World Athletics governing body (formerly known as IAAF) would never officially ratify the mark. In 2003, USATF officially recognized the mark as an American Record.

After lobbying his case for years, Shinnick's case made its way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which ruled in Shinnick's favor in May of this year. World Athletics accepted the ruling and installed Shinnick's name in the World Record progression, giving him the mark from May 25, 1963 until Boston regained the record on Sept. 12, 1964, with a mark of 8.34-meters.

Shinnick would go on to compete for the U.S. at the 1964 Olympic Games, placing 22nd overall. He was inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame in 1992. Shinnick's record (8.33m / 27-feet, 4-inches) remains the longest-standing of all the UW school records.