In 1989, Sotomayor made history by becoming the first man to leap eight feet (2.43). The Cuban looked set for victory when he cleared 2.36 on his first attempt, but an ankle injury meant that he was forced to retire after one failure at 2.40. This meant that the gold medal went to the unheralded American Charles Austin, who had cleared 2.38 on his second attempt. Sotomayor went over to congratulate both Austin and Conway as soon as he realised he could compete no more.
The 24 year-old Texan had earlier taken a big risk by passing at 2.36. He ended the contest by failing three times at 2.45. The bronze medal also went to the USA, while in fourth place was Grant, who had courageously started the contest at 2.31.