High Jump

Yelena Slesarenko using the Fosbury Flop technique at 2004 Summer Olympics.
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The High Jump - Yelena Slesarenko using the Fosbury Flop technique at 2004 Summer Olympics - Attribution: I, Bjarteh.

This track and field athletics event has competitors jumping over a horizontal bar placed at measured heights.


It is a foul if:

  • the jumper takes off from both feet.
  • If the jumper dislodges the bar
  • the jumper touches the ground before clearance
  • the jumper breaks the plane of the near edge of the bar before clearance.

The athlete may begin jumping at any height announced by the chief judge, or may choose to  pass. Three consecutive misses, at any height or combination of heights, and the jumper is out.

Technical aspects

High jump shoes

These shoes differ from most other track shoes in that they have much thicker soles. These provide stability and comfort at take-off. There are an additional four holes in the heel of the shoe used for take-off, where the user can insert spikes for increased traction. The maximum number of spikes allowed in the sole by the IAAF is 11, and jump shoes are normally configured with six or seven in the front, and four in the heel. Spikes must be 12mm or less in length. The heel spikes give great aid in the last four to five steps of the J-approach, allowing the jumper to run the curve fast without slipping. Some high jump shoes are even modified to lean the direction of the approach to provide further support while running the curve. The IAAF regulations specify a maximum sole thickness for both high and long jump shoes; competitors in all other events may wear shoes with soles of any thickness.

The approach

The approach is critical and requires a certain trajectory, the correct speed, and the correct number of strides. Also critical for optimal height is the approach angle.

Most great straddle jumpers have a run at angles of about 30 to 40 degrees. The run length is determined by the approach speed. A slower runner might take about 8 strides, while a faster one may take about 13. The faster the run, the more forward momentum to be converted upward.

The J type approach, favoured by Fosbury floppers, makes for more horizontal speed, the ability to turn in the air, and good take-off position. Athletes should run tall and lean from the ankles on the curve and not the hips. With the "classic" straddle technique the take-off foot is "planted" in the same spot at every height. The flop-style jumpers must adjust their take-off as the bar is raised, moving their take-off spot is slightly further out from the bar as height increases.

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This page derived from wikipedia page High jump.

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