The choice of Mexico City to host the 1968 Olympic Games proved to be a controversial one because of the city's high altitude above sea level: 2,300m. It was the first times the Games had taken place in Latin America, and the altitude proved an advantage in the events which needed a brief, but intense effort, such as short-distance running (up to 800m), jumping, throwing and weightlifting. But the rarefied air proved disastrous for those competing in endurance events that lasted longer than two minutes, such as long-distance and middle-distance running, swimming and cycling.
The high altitude led to world records in all of the men’s races that were 400m or shorter, plus the long jump and triple jump. Probably the most memorable achievement was Bob Beamon’s spectacular long jump of 8.90m—a world record that would last for 22 years.
Mexican hurdler Enriqueta Basilio became the first woman to light the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony. Wyomia Tyus of the U.S. became the first athlete to win the 100m twice. Dick Fosbury won the men’s high jump with a new jumping style now known as the “Fosbury Flop”, and for the first time, winners had to undergo a doping test (narcotics, stimulants).
See the list of teams and medals won by each.
Mexico 1968 Athletics High jump menMexico 1968 | Olympic Games