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When Bob Beamon came down for a landing in the pit during the long-jump competition in the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico City he had not only obliterated the long-jump record by almost two feet, he had jumped one foot, ten inches further than his own personal best. "Compared to this jump, we are like children," said the previous record holder, a Soviet jumper. Bob Beamon was in the zone; that elusive, ineffable state of grace where astonishing things can happen to even the most ordinary athletes.

But what, just exactly, is this zone? Is it the province of elite athletes only, does it just happen, or can anyone train themselves to get there? In this edition of Body & Soul we talk to some people who've either been in the zone themselves or been witness to its sublime effects.


Phil Jackson, the former coach of the Chicago Bulls, and George Mumford, the sports psychologist he worked with enroute to the Bull's six NBA championships.


You will also hear from writer Craig Lambert about the nature of swing. No, not the music, but the term used by rowers to describe that moment of magic when a perfectly synced crew makes a boat fly over the water.


And finally, some other tales of being in the zone and a few pointers on how to maximize your chances of getting there.

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Body & Soul is currently airing Monday-Friday at 7:00pm and 8:30pm on PBS YOU.

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