The purpose of this event is jump over a horizontal bar placed at measured heights without the aid of certain devices. Long and slim athletes’ jumping moment is the most beautiful scene among many athletic movements.
The high jump is sophisticated and difficult event as much as graceful. Approach skill developed continuously to various types like scissors-jump, western roll, straddle and Fosbury flop technique.
Scissors is literally to jump in front of the bar and crossing two legs like scissors. By this technique, American Jumper Sweeney jumped 1.97m in 1895.
In western roll style, jumper approach bar on a diagonal, but the inner leg is used for the take off, while the outer leg is thrust up to lead the body sideways over the bar. Cornelius Johnson used this technique and won the event at 2.03m in the Berlin Olympics 1936.
Straddle jumpers took off as in the western roll, but rotated their (belly-down) torso around the bar, obtaining the most economical clearance up to that time. Russian jumper Valeriy Brumel won gold medal as jumped over 2.28m in the Tokyo Olympics 1964.
Fosbury is the name of American jumper who invented new jumping skill. He directed himself over the bar head and shoulders first, sliding over on his back and landing in a fashion which would likely broken his neck in landing pits. He used this Fosbury flop in Mexico Olympics 1968 and won the gold medal and the technique began to spread around the world, and soon floppers were dominating international high jump competitions.
The current men’s record holder is Javier Sotomayor from Cuba with a jump of 2.45m set in 1993 and Stefka Kostadinova from Bulgaria is the women’s world record holder at 2.09m.
The final match of high jump in World Championships in athletics will hold on Sep 1 for men’s and Sep 3 for women’s.