High jumpers must leap over a four-meter long bar without knocking the bar off of its supports. The sport requires speed and agility along with proper technique.
What to look for:
The jump includes three phases: the approach, take-off and flight. The approach must be made at maximum speed while still keeping the body under sufficient control to insure a proper take-off. Jumpers must take off on one foot, clear the bar and leave the landing mat while the bar remains in place.
In competition, the bar is set at a relatively low height for the first round. Jumpers have three opportunities to clear the bar in each round.
Men's world record:
Although Cuba’s Javier Sotomayor set the current world record of 2.45 meters, on July 27, 1993, he’s best known for his non-metric accomplishment – the first eight-foot (2.44-meter) jump. Sotomayor broke that barrier – along with his own previous world-record mark of 2.43 meters - at the Caribbean Championships in Puerto Rico on July 30, 1989. Sotomayor also holds the indoor record of 2.43 meters.
Women's world record:
Stefka Kostadinova tied fellow Bulgarian Ludmila Andonova’s record of 2.07 meters on May 25, 1986, then broke the mark six days later with a leap of 2.08. She set the current record at the World Championships in Rome on Aug. 30, 1987, despite an inauspicious start, having missed her first qualifying jump at 1.91 meters on the initial day of competition. The following day she employed a speedier approach to out-jump her competition, all of whom dropped out by the time Kostadinova asked that the bar be raised to 2.09. She missed her first two attempts but cleared the bar on her final try.