Olympics 2012: A beginner’s guide to the high jump

Learn all about the technique and tactics, plus David Goldblatt's thoughts on British hopeful Robbie Grabarz

Just how can people clear a bar that’s over two metres tall? High jumpers use the Fosbury flop — patented by American Dick Fosbury who won gold in 1968 — to roll backwards over the bar. Each contestant has a maximum of three attempts at every height, after which the bar is raised until only one jumper remains in the competition. In the case of a tie, the jumper with the fewest failures at the last cleared height prevails. If these are identical, all failures are counted; and if all else fails, there is a jump-off.


Watch for the point of take-off, which is crucial in high jump. Too close to the bar and the jumper will clip it as they rise. But if it’s too far away they will hit it as they fall.

The event could produce a surprise gold for Britain, according to Jonathan Edwards. “Robbie Grabarz has had a remarkable season. He is one of those guys who has the balls for the occasion and I think he’ll rise to having the home crowd behind him.”


Athletics: Men’s High Jump Final, 7:00pm BBC1, BBC Olympics 1