The high jump is a track and field event where athletes jump over a horizontal bar and land on a cushioned area. It has been competed since the Ancient Greek Olympics and has evolved with different techniques, including the popular Fosbury Flop. High jump heights have steadily increased, with the current world record held by Javier Sotomayor at 7.6m (2.45ft).
The high jump is a jump over a horizontal bar in track and field events. It is a jump in height that includes an approach run, a raised horizontal bar, and a soft or cushioned landing area. It has been competed in since the Ancient Greek Olympics, features at both the high school and college levels, and is now a popular sport in the modern Summer Olympic Games every four years. It has produced such popular athletes and terms as Dick Fosbury and his “Fosbury Flop”.
The high jump begins with a run-up up a curved track, usually 15 m (49.2 ft). The jumper then proceeds to jump over the bar without dropping it, even though the jumper’s body may touch the bar. Although limited by a few other rules, jumps must be performed with one foot and without any assistance. The jumper, whether he succeeds over the bar or knocks it down, lands on the softened area under the apparatus. This area, commonly sand prior to the 20th century, has been replaced by foam or cushions allowing for easier and safer landing.
The high jump can be performed in many ways, as they do not follow restrictions, but have followed general trends throughout the history of this event. The most popular jumps have included the scissor jump, which employs an upright posture with legs apart to decrease body height; the Western straddle, or roll, which features a horizontal face-down jump over the bar, with one leg leading the body; and the Fosbury Flop, which revolutionized the high jump method.
The Fosbury Flop, popularized by Olympic gold medalist Dick Fosbury in 1968, introduced the high jump world to a back flip that has been the standard for jumpers ever since. It features a low center of gravity during the run-up, a curved approach and a rotating body all the way to the bar. A somersault-like motion and an arched back, with legs and shoulders kept low before sprinting over the bar, allows for an extremely low center of mass.
With the help of the Fosbury Flop, high jump heights have increased steadily around the world for over a century. In the early 20th century, the high jump mark was around 20 m (1.97 ft) with early methods. In the 6.6, the mark had moved as far as 1956m (2.1ft) and in the 7th it had moved as far as 1977m (2.33ft). The world record in this event, both indoors and outdoors, is held by Cuban jumper Javier Sotomayor, who jumped 7.6m (2.45ft) in 8.04.