HomeSportshigh jumpHigh Jump Event – Know its History, Techniques, Rules, Fosbury Flop –...
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High Jump Event – Know its History, Techniques, Rules, Fosbury Flop – All You Need To Know

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In the high jump, a track and field competition, athletes must clear a horizontal bar set at precise heights without knocking it over. In its most popular, contemporary configuration, a bar with a crash mat for landing is positioned between two standards. The Fosbury Flop, in which athletes rush toward the bar and leap head first with their backs to the bar, is currently the approach that is widely favored. Competitors have been introducing increasingly effective strategies since the beginning of time to reach the current form.

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With a jump of 2.45 m (8 ft 1/4 In) in 1993, Javier Sotomayor (Cuba) now holds the men’s record, which is the longest-standing mark in the men’s high jump history. The longest-standing record in the competition belongs to Stefka Kostadinova (Bulgaria), who has held the women’s world record of 2.09 m (6 ft 10 1/4 In) since 1987.

One of the nine original sports that took part in the first modern Olympics, held in Athens in 1896, was the high jump. The high jump has since become a regular event on the Summer Games schedule. In addition, starting with the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, was one of the first sports competitions in which women were permitted to participate.

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One of the two vertical leap competitions held at the Summer Games is the high jump, along with its relative pole vault. While the long jump is a horizontal leap competition. In this blog, you will get to know the nitty-gritty of this sport from its history to the Fosbury flop.

History of High Jump

history of high jump- KreedOn
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In the 19th century, Scotland hosted the first high jump competition that was ever documented. A complex straight-on approach or a scissors technique were both adopted by early jumpers. Later, the bar was approached diagonally, and the jumper scissored the inside leg over the bar before throwing the second leg over it.

Techniques started to change at the turn of the 20th century, starting with the Irish-American Michael Sweeney’s Eastern cut-off as a modification of the scissors technique. Sweeney raised the record to 1.97 m (6 ft 5 1/2 In) in 1895 by flattening out over the bar, taking off as in the scissors technique, and stretching his spine. With this approach, Australian John Winter won the gold medal at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London.

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Additionally, Iolanda Balaş of Romania, one of the best female high jumpers, employed this technique to dominate women’s high jump for almost 10 years until her retirement in 1967.

George Horine, another American, invented the Western roll, a method that is considerably more effective. In this technique, the bar is again approached diagonally, but instead of using the outer leg to propel the body over the bar, the inner leg is used for takeoff. In 1912, Horine raised the international standard to 2.01 m (6 ft 7 In). His method predominated throughout the 1936 Berlin Olympics, where Cornelius Johnson won the event at 2.03 m (6 ft 7 3/4 In).

How To Do High Jump

how to do high jump- KreedOn
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In the high jump, as the name implies, competitors must clear a horizontal bar set at a specific height while jumping as high as they can vertically. However, unlike the pole vault, athletes must perform it unassisted, necessitating great levels of speed, explosive power, and agility.

One very important thing to remember is that during takeoff, athletes can only use one foot. Simply said, upon starting the jump, the jumper is only allowed to have one foot on the ground.

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Three areas make up the high jump competition field:

  • The takeoff zone or runway is the first. Typically, it is at least 15 meters long and 16 meters wide.
  • The second structure is upright, which is made up of two vertical bars supporting a 4 m long horizontal crossbar. The crossbar is not attached to the vertical frames and is height adjustable. It is positioned very gently and is easily moved by the smallest pressure.
  • The third is a crash pad that has been positioned beneath the upright to soften the jumper’s fall. It primarily serves as a safety precaution to avoid any kind of injury.

An athlete approaches the upright using the runway to begin a high jump. The jumper may make their approach in any manner they choose, so long as they remain on the runway. They can move quickly or slowly, at an angle, or in a straight line.

When a jumper is close to the upright, they airlift vertically while taking off with one foot. The goal is to land on the crash mat after clearing the crossbar that is positioned at a specific height above the ground. The leap is deemed legitimate if the athlete successfully lands on the crash mat without knocking the crossbar over.

As long as the crossbar doesn’t come loose during the jump, it doesn’t matter if the jumper’s body hits the crossbar in any way. However, the attempt is regarded as a failed jump if the crossbar separates from the vertical frameworks or the athlete touches the vertical frameworks during the jump.

A high jumper’s shoe must also adhere to certain requirements. They can have heels that are no thicker than 19mm and soles that are no thicker than 13mm.

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High Jump Rules

In a competition, the chief judge positions the crossbar at a specific height before the high jump event begins. Usually, the height rises gradually to make it harder for athletes.

To move on to the next (higher) mark, the competing athletes have three chances each to clear a specific height. However, competitors do have the opportunity to pass any height and go for the following mark.

After three consecutive unsuccessful tries to clear a height or combination of heights, a contestant is eliminated. As a result, the field for a high jump competition gradually starts to shrink as the height rises.

It’s important to remember that if an athlete clears a height, the progression of successful or unsuccessful tries continues. A participant must clear the next higher height in their first attempt to avoid elimination, for instance, if they fail two times in a row at a given height before passing and going for the next mark. The competition is won by the last remaining jumper.

The following criteria are used as the tie-breaker between jumpers if there is a tie for first place and all remaining competitors are unable to clear a specified height:

  • The height where the tie occurred with the fewest efforts that failed
  • The competition’s fewest efforts that failed

If there is still a tie, the victor is decided by a jump-off in which competitors have one chance to clear the next height mark. After then, the crossbar is alternately raised and lowered until just one jumper is successful.

However, a new regulation that made the jump-off optional was adopted in 2009, allowing competitors to share the top rank if they so choose.

The rule was famously put into place at the men’s high jump competition in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy decided to share the gold medal.

gold coast games highlights kreedonAlso Read | Tejaswin Shankar: The High Jumper Destined for Glory

High Jump Techniques

There are no regulations that restrict high jump techniques, except the one-footed takeoff. Thus, in the early days, athletes executed their jumps using a variety of tactics, including well-known ones like the Eastern Cut-off, Western Roll, and Straddle.

But after the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, when the United States Dick Fosbury won the gold medal in the men’s high jump, things took a drastic change.

Fosbury Flop

Fosbury Flop High jump- KreedOn
Image Source- Youtube

Fosbury was not even close to being an athlete with average talent. In fact, in his early years, he even fell short of the high school qualifying standards in the sport.

However, the Portland resident excelled in school and used his knowledge of mechanics to develop a novel strategy that enabled him to win the Olympic gold medal. He later earned a degree in civil engineering.

The first step in Fosbury’s method was a diagonal dash towards the bar, followed by a turn away from the upright and a reverse jump over the crossbar. The technique enhanced the highest height he could jump since it allowed him to achieve a considerably lower center of mass throughout the flight than other common techniques of the time.

The Fosbury Flop, as the method is now known, is the standard for almost all contemporary competition high jumpers. But throughout time, several sportsmen have improved the Fosbury Flop.


Tejasvin Shankar high jump- KreedOn
Image Source- Deccan Herald

Tejaswin Shankar, who aspired to play cricket, has become India’s top high jumper. He currently has a medal from the Commonwealth Games and owns the Indian record. Tejaswin Shankar earned a gold medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Apia in 2015, then two years later, in South Asian Games, Guwahati, he took home a silver. The same year, Tejaswin Shankar, a 6’4″ man broke Hari Shankar Roy’s 12-year-old high jump record by clearing 2.18 meters at the junior national championships in Coimbatore.

Tejaswin Shankar also had an excellent performance on the international stage, placing sixth at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Gold Coast.

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High Jump Records

Men’s High Jump World Record

Height Name Date
2.45 m (8 ft 1/2 in) Javier Sotomayor (CUB) 27-Jul-93
2.44 m (8 ft 0 in) Javier Sotomayor (CUB) 29-Jul-89
2.43 m (7 ft 11 3/4 in) Javier Sotomayor (CUB) 8-Sep-88
2.42 m (7 ft 11 1/4 in) Patrik Sjöberg (SWE) 30-Jun-87
2.41 m (7 ft 11 in) Igor Paklin (URS) 4-Sep-85

Women’s High Jump World Record Progression

Height Name Date
2.09 m (6 ft 10 1/4 in) Stefka Kostadinova (BUL) 30-Aug-87
2.08 m (6 ft 10 in) Stefka Kostadinova (BUL) 31-May-86
2.07 m (6 ft 9 1/2 in) Stefka Kostadinova (BUL) 25-May-86
2.07 m (6 ft 9 1/2 in) Lyudmila Andonova (BUL) 20-Jul-84
2.05 m (6 ft 8 3/4 in) Tamara Bykova (URS) 22-Jun-84

Gold medal winning heights in the Men’s and Women’s high jump at the Summer Olympics from 1896 to 2020

High Jump- KreedOn
Image Source: Statista

High jump national record

Tejaswin Shankar is a high jump national record holder in the men’s category. The record-making jump was 2.29m at the Texas Tech Corky/Crofoot Shootout in April 2018.

Sahana Kumari holds the record among women with a jump of 1.92m at the 2012 National Inter-State Championships in Hyderabad.

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Niladri Chakraborty
Niladri Chakraborty
A creative mind and a free soul, Niladri Chakraborty is an extremely passionate football enthusiast. He bleeds for Liverpool FC and currently pursuing a MBA degree in Sports Management, with a dream to work for the club he loves in the future. Keen about football analytics and scouting, Niladri's love for writing made him join KreedOn to express his thoughts. He is also a movie buff, loves music and loves reading about spirituality, psychology and world history to boost his knowledge, which remain the most favorite topics for him beside football.


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