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What is Olympic High Jump?


What is Olympic High Jump? A sport that features fast and flexible athletes leaping tall crossbars in a single bound, the high jump can also be a highly dramatic Olympic event in which two centimeters (about three-quarters of an inch) is often the difference between gold and silver.


Jumpers must take off on one foot. A successful jump is one in which the crossbar remains in place when the jumper has left the landing area.

Competitors may begin jumping at any height announced by the chief judge, or may pass, at their own discretion. Three consecutive missed jumps, at any height or combination of heights, will eliminate the jumper from competition.


High jumper’s shoes can have a maximum thickness of 13 millimeters in the sole and 19 millimeters in the heel.

The runway is at least 15 meters long. Competitors may place as many as two markers along the runway. The crossbar is 4 meters long.


Athletes in the high jump must achieve an Olympic qualifying height and must qualify for their nation’s Olympic team. A maximum of three competitors per country may compete in the high jump.

Twelve jumpers participate in the Olympic high jump final. The victory goes to the jumper who clears the greatest height during the final. If two or more jumpers tie for first place, the tie-breakers are: 1) The fewest misses at the height at which the tie occurred; and 2) The fewest misses throughout the competition.

If the event remains tied, the jumpers have a jump-off, beginning at the next greater height. Each jumper has one attempt. The bar is then alternately lowered and raised until only one jumper succeeds at a given height.

Read more about Olympic High Jump Rules and Scoring.

Back to Olympic High Jump main page

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