INDIANAPOLIS -- Willie Banks smashed the world record in the triple jump Sunday with a leap of 58-feet-11 at the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Brazilian Joao Oliveira had set the record of 58-8 in 1975. Banks, who placed a disappointing sixth at last summer's Olympics, leaped in happiness and ran around the Indiana University Track Stadium infield as his record was confirmed.
'This is like the greatest moment of my life,' Banks said. 'I missed the gold medal. It wasn't until I decided to go for the world record that I could look at myself in the mirror.'
Banks said he talked with friend Louise Romo and high jumper Lee Balkin just before his winning jump.
'When I took the first step, I knew it was going to be a world record,' Banks said. 'Louise was coming into the homestretch of the 800, when I started my run. The excitement of her running and me feeling good catapaulted me down the runway.'
'I told Balkin, 'Hey Lee, this jump is going to be the world record.' He said, 'Go for it.''
The record came on Banks' second jump. The last American to own the triple jump world best was Dan Ahearne, who leaped 50-11 in 1911.
Soon after Banks' record leap, Michael Conley jumped 58-1 , the third best triple jump ever. Conley finished second.
The top four leaps in the triple jump were the four best American efforts ever.
Conley earlier won the long jump with a wind-aided leap of 28-0, giving the NCAA champ the sixth best mark ever.
Runner-up Jason Grimes, who finished an inch behind Conley, said it would be his last competition because he intends to sign a contract with the NFL's Detroit Lions.
Andre Phillips won the 400-meter hurdles in 47.67, improving his standing as the third-best performer ever in the event. Olympic silver medalist Danny Harris was second in 48.65. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Edwin Moses bypassed the competition.
Olympic silver medalist Judi Brown won her second straight 400-meter hurdles title, passing Tonja Brown on the final hurdle. Sharrieffa Barksdale, who complained of breathing problems Saturday after the semifinals, did not compete.
Mark Rowe won his second straight 400-meter national title, finishing in 44.87 to edge Darrell Robinson. Lillie Leatherwood took the women's 400 in 50.64.
Kirk Baptiste was the only men's double winner, adding the 200 meters to his 100-meter title from Saturday. Baptiste closed fast to edge Roy Martin with a run of 20.11.
Merlene Ottey-Page was the only women's double winner. She took the 200 in 21.93, the fastest time in the world this year. She had won the 100 Saturday.
Jim Spivey won his second straight national title in the 1,500 meters, edging Steve Scott in 3:39.54.
Henry Marsh won his sixth national title in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, setting a meet record of 8:18.35, the best time this year.
Doug Padilla won the 5,000 with a this year's world best of 13:16.42.
Jud Logan took his second straight U.S. hammer throw title with a toss of 250-2 while John Powell captured his third consecutive discus crown with a throw of 214-4, the shortest winning throw in 10 years. It was the fifth national discus title in Powell's career.
Tim Lewis won the 20-kilometer walk in 1:28:26.46 while Diana Richburg won the 1,500 meters in 4:04.73 and Cathy Branta won the 3,000 in 8:49.64.
American record holder Johnny Gray won the 800 meters in 1:44.01 while Claudette Groenendaal took the women's 800 in 1:59.48, the fastest by a U.S. collegian.
Joe Dial won the pole vault at 18-9 . Ramona Pagel took the shot put at 60-2 1/2 and Tom Petranoff won the javelin with a toss of 286-1.