Tuesday, August 18, 2009

how high jump has changed over the years

picture from national archives of singapore

i was browsing through some photographs of the farrer park stadium, when it dawned on me how much the high jump field event has changed over the years. it is not just the jumping technique that has changed but also the landing surfaces for the jump.

those early years, we used to jump and land in a sand pit. during our primary school days, we had never heard of the fosbury flop. most of us generally leaped over the cross-bar feet first save for some kamikaze jumpers. the styles that we employed were western roll, straddle or the scissors.

picture from national archives of singapore

later, they cushioned the landing area by using rubber foams. landing was not as painful (as on sand) and also you did not get sand entering any of your orifices. by then quite a number of the jumpers were already using the frosbury flop technique to clear the bar.

today's landing mattress is thick and well-padded and the surface is even. the foam mattress has a pvc cover and all the seams and joints are properly stitched.

today, most, if not all, elite jumpers, both men and women, use the flop to clear the bar.

here is a video clip of some gymnasts doing the high jump and some shots of a world champion in action.

those who are not into competitive high jumping may not be aware of one of the basic rules for the high jump event. that is, the competitor must take off on one foot. so, all those jumps by the gymnasts, taking off on two feet, are not considered valid or legal jumps.

two other rules of interest are:

the cross-bar must remain in place when the athlete has left the landing area. if the bar falls off the uprights after you have completed the jump but before you leave the landing area, it is considered a failed attempt.

the competitor may begin jumping at any height. you may pass at your own discretion. 3 consecutive missed jumps, at any height or combination of heights, will eliminate the jumper from the competition.


WW said...

Just to clarify the point regarding it being a failed attempt if the bar falls off before the jumper leaves the mat. This is a misconception. After the jumper has cleared the bar, a judge will decide if the jump is valid especially if the jumper hits the bar during the attempt and the bar is wobbling. However if the judge signals that it was a succesful attempt and gives the signal by raising the white flag that he/she is holding, then even if the bar falls off after that, it's still a good jump. It has nothing to do with the jumping leaving the mat quickly or not before the bar drops.

yg said...

ww, thank you for enlightening me with this clarification.

Lam Chun See said...

I think this guy Dick Fosbury (not Frosbury) is a genious. But I recall some news articles poking fun of his name when the did not do so well in his jumps saying he has flopped (failed).

yg said...

chun see, thanks for pointing out the mistake. i have always thought it was frosbury.