Arnie Robinson

Arnie Robinson
Arnie Robinson 1972.jpg
Robinson in 1972
Personal information
Born (1948-04-07)April 7, 1948
San Diego, California, U.S.
Died December 1, 2020(2020-12-01) (aged 72)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Height 188 cm (6 ft 2 in)
Weight 74 kg (163 lb)
Sport Athletics
Event(s) High jump, long jump, triple jump
Club Maccabi Track Club, Los Angeles
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) HJ – 2.08 m (1971)
LJ – 8.35 m (1976)
TJ – 15.54 m (1971)[1][2]

Arnie Paul Robinson Jr. (April 7, 1948 – December 1, 2020) was an American athlete. He won a bronze medal in the long jump at the 1972 Olympics and a gold medal in 1976.[1]

Early life and education

Arnie Paul Robinson Jr. was born in San Diego in 1948. He mother, Verneater Robinson, worked as a volunteer at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in San Diego. Robinson stayed in the San Diego area throughout his career, first at Samuel F. B. Morse High School, then San Diego Mesa College and San Diego State University, where he was the 1970 NCAA Men's Outdoor Track and Field Champion in the long jump.[3]

Career as an athlete

The following year, in 1971, he won his first USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships title, representing the San Diego Track Club. That qualified him to go to the Athletics at the 1971 Pan American Games, where he won the Gold Medal. In 1972 he won the USA Championships again, this time representing the U.S. Army. That was the first time he qualified for the Olympic team winning the Olympic Trials. In Munich that year he was third in the Olympics behind youngster Randy Williams who was setting the still standing World Junior Record in the long jump. Then starting in 1975, Robinson went on to win four straight USA Outdoor Championships, representing an assortment of clubs.[4] The 1975 championship qualified Robinson to again go to the Pan Am Games, where he won the silver medal behind the first of 4 jumping gold medals for João Carlos de Oliveira of Brazil. In 1976, he bested Williams in both the Olympic Trials[5] and the Olympics, taking home the Gold Medal and a career best 8.35m jump. In 1977, his National Championship qualified him to go to the first ever World Cup meet in Düsseldorf, where he again took home Gold.

Career as a teacher

As of 2005, he was teaching physical education courses at Mesa College in San Diego. He was previously the head track coach at Mesa College, starting in 1982.


In 2000, Robinson was elected into the USATF National Track and Field Hall of Fame. He was voted into the San Diego Sport Association's Breitbard Hall of Fame in 1984, and the California Community College Athletic Association Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2007.[3]

On April 13, 2013, San Diego Mesa College honored the Olympian Long Jumper by naming their Invitational (Arnie Robinson Invite hosted in San Diego at Mesa College) [6] after him, and presenting him[7] with an award.[8]

Personal life

Early in 2000, he was seriously injured in an auto accident[9] when a drunk driver hit his car. After he recovered he became the coach of the USA Track & Field long jump team at the 2003 world championships. In 2005 he was diagnosed with a form of brain cancer, glioblastoma, and told he would only live another 6 months. Later in life he took up a new hobby, building houses. His first marriage to Cynthia Eley ended in divorce. He has a son, Paul, born shortly before Robinson retired from competing. He had three sisters and a younger brother who died in 2011.[3]


Robinson began to have trouble breathing and excessive coughing in mid-November. He died on December 1, 2020 at the age of 72, after testing positive for COVID-19 during the COVID-19 pandemic in San Diego the week before.[10][3]


  1. ^ a b Arnie Robinson.
  2. ^ 'Arnie' Paul Robinson Jr..
  3. ^ a b c d Hauser, Christine; Opam, Kwame (2020-12-09). "Arnie Robinson Jr., Olympic Long Jump Champion, Dies at 72". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  4. ^ "Statistics – USA Outdoor Track & Field Champions". USATF. Archived from the original on 2011-06-11. Retrieved 2010-12-28.
  5. ^ Hymans, R. (2008) The History of the United States Olympic Trials – Track & Field. USA Track & Field
  6. ^ Arnie Robinson Invitational Saturday April 13, 2013.
  7. ^ Arnie Robinson Meet. (2013-04-24)
  8. ^ 2013 Honoring Arnie Robinson.
  9. ^ "Hall of Fame". USATF. Archived from the original on 6 January 2011. Retrieved 2010-12-28. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Miller, Bryce (2020-12-01). "Column: Arnie Robinson dies at 72; Olympic long jump gold medalist, San Diego mainstay". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2020-12-20.

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
United States James McAlister
Men's Long Jump Best Year Performance
Succeeded by
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Nenad Stekić
Preceded by
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Nenad Stekić
Men's Long Jump Best Year Performance
Succeeded by
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Nenad Stekić