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The highlight of the Games was American Bob Beamon's astonishing 8.90m leap for the long jump gold, which beat the previous mark by 55 centimetres. His record stood until another American, Mike Powell, leapt 8.95m at the 1991 world championships in Tokyo.
Ethiopian Mamo Wolde, who won the marathon, was arrested in 1992 and thrown in prison for his part in the Red Terror, a violent dictatorial regime in his country in 1977 and '78.
The home team was unable to take advantage of competing in its own backyard, coming away with only three gold medals -- two in the boxing ring (Ricardo Delgado and Antonio Roldan) and one in the swimming pool (Felipe Munoz).
On the path to greatness
In the super-heavyweight division, a man who would become a boxing legend, George Foreman, punched his way to gold.