High jump technique has changed more than any track and field sport since the 1896 Athens Games. Jumpers have gone over the bar feet-first. They've gone over head-first, belly-down. Today's elite jumpers employ the head-first, belly-up technique popularized by Dick Fosbury in the '60s.
About Olympic High Jump:
It's fitting that Olympic high jumpers go over the bar head-first, because the mental aspect of the event is just as important as physical talent. High jumpers must employ sound strategy - knowing when to pass and when to jump - and must remain calm and confident as the pressure increases during the later rounds.
Olympic High Jump History:
Americans once dominated this event. Dick Fosbury's 1968 victory was the 12th U.S. high jump gold medal. But the U.S. has won just once (1996) since that time. Like all four of today's jumping events, the high jump was a part of the first modern Games in 1896.
Action Image Gallery:
Watch high jumpers soar in these images taken from Olympic Games, World Championships and other events.
Take a look at the top 2012 Olympic high jump hopefuls, from the U.S. and around the world, then catch up with some familiar names from the past with these selections.