Charles Austin's Guide to Watching the High Jump | Summer Olympics | Smithsonian
(Courtesy of Charles Austin)

Charles Austin's Guide to Watching the High Jump

Charles Austin's Guide to Watching the High Jump

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Introducing the Expert

Name: Charles Austin
Location: San Marcos, Texas
Games and Medals: Atlanta 1996 (Gold)
Key Quote: “The high jump is a very fun, complex event.  It takes not on physical strength but mental strength to be the best you can be.”

Equipment

The standards: what the bar rests on when the competitors jump
 
The pit: the big mat the competitors land on

Maneuvers
Slang

Getting Ready to Bounce: getting ready to jump high
 
I got hops: the competitor can jump high

Blast: the competitor height over the bar was really good

Pass: This is when a competitor decides to skip a height or attempt his remaining jump at a high height.
 
Approach: the run-up to the bar

Arch: when the competitor lays out over the bar

Rules

Number of Jumps: Each competitor gets three jumps at each height.

Height: Competitors can select the heights form the start list they want to jump at. They do not have to jump every height.
 
Time Limits: Competitors have a time limit for each jump. At the beginning of the competition, each jumper has one minute once his or her name is called by the official. When only two or three jumpers remain in the competition, they have three minutes. When there is only one remaining jumper, this person as five minutes between jumps.

Game Changers

1968: Dick Fosbury introduces the flop technique of the high jump.

1978: The last world record with the Western Roll is set in 1978.  Previously the dominant style, most everyone uses the flop now.

Athletes to Watch
Jesse Williams (USA):
The 2011 Outdoor World High Jump Champion and barely made the U.S. men’s team. It will be interesting to see how he takes advantage of this opportunity. @Jessehj1

Jamie Nieto (USA):
The oldest of the three high jumpers at 35 years of age. He has been around for a long time and I would love to see him medal. @JamieNieto


Erik Kynard (USA):
A talented up-and-comer that has shown lots of potential to do well on the international level. He is young; it will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure. @Erik_Kynard

Photos by USOC/Long Photography

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