Bob Beamon was born in the housing projects in Queens, New York. His mother died before he was one year old. His father was an abusive alcoholic. He joined a gang and was arrested for decking a teacher. He was discovered in high school as a rising star in track and field. He set the national record for the triple jump and was second in the nation in the long jump.
In the 1968 Olympics, he was the favorite to win the Gold Medal in the long jump, having won both the AAU and NCAA titles in the triple jump and long jump. But on his first two attempts in the Olympic trials, he crossed the starting line and was disqualified. He qualified on his final jump.
On his first jump in the finals competition, Beamon knew he had made a great jump. But the measuring device would not give a reading. A tape measure had to be used because the jump was outside the range of the measuring device. The distance of the jump was first announced in a metric measure. Beamon still didn’t know how far he had jumped because he could not convert the metric system to the English system. When Beamon heard the English measure, he fell to his knees and covered his face. He had to be helped back to his feet by his teammates. He had broken the previous record by 21.75 inches. He was the first ever to not only jump more than 28 ft, but also 29 ft (that’s close to jumping from the line of scrimmage in football to a first down). Beamon’s record jump is still unsurpassed in the Olympics.
There is a phrase that is often used to encourage those who are close giving up. You are only five minutes from a miracle. Beamon almost didn’t qualify for the finals, but he didn’t give up. Earlier in life, he was destined for a tragic life, but he reversed the course he was on.
You are only five minutes from a miracle is a description of faith in yourself, the beliefs of others who want you to succeed, and the desire to succeed. Was Beamon’s jump a miracle? It was if you consider miracles to be something totally unexpected.
Miracles are symbolic of changes we make in our lives. Being five minutes from a miracle is in essence a message of faith. We haven’t achieved the miracle yet, but it’s close. To achieve the miracle, we need those who believe in us and help us believe in ourselves. And those beliefs come from faith.
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“There are two ways to live: you can live as nothing is a miracle; you can live as everything is a miracle.” –Albert Einstein