Track and field
b. May 9, 1939, Laurel, MS
As a student at Tennessee A & I University (now Tennessee State), Boston improved dramatically as a long jumper in 1960, his senior season, when he concentrated on the event in order to make the Olympic team. In previous seasons, he had also competed in the high jump, sprints, and high hurdles, and he ranked only fourth in the country as a high jumper in 1959.
Boston set a world record of 26 feet, 11¼ inches in the long jump on August 12, 1960, breaking the mark set by Jesse Owens twenty-five years before. It was the first of five world records Boston established in the event.
Less than a month later, Boston broke Owens' twenty-four-year-old Olympic record by jumping 26 feet, 7¾ inches to win the gold medal at the games in Rome. It was the first time four jumpers surpassed 26 feet at a single meet.
In May of 1961, Boston broke his own record with a jump of 27 feet, ½ inch, becoming the first to leap more than 27 feet. He extended the record to 27-2 later that year.
Igor Ter-Ovanesyan of the Soviet Union set a new record of 27 feet, 3½ inches in June of 1962. Boston tied that mark in August of 1964 and broke it with a jump of 27-4¾ in September. He set his last world record, 27 feet, 5 inches, in May of 1965.
Boston won the NCAA championship in 1960, the AAU outdoor championship from 1961 through 1966, and the AAU indoor championship in 1961. He won a silver medal at the 1964 Olympics and a bronze in 1968. He was also the AAU outdoor high hurdles champion in 1965 and he had the country's longest triple jump in 1963.
After retiring from competition early in 1969, Boston did commentary on televised track meets and served as an administrator at the University of Tennessee.