It began as a test of military readiness. To prepare soldiers for service, someone put a bar between two poles and commanded the troops to jump over it.
Soon it turned to sport. More than likely it was at the ancient Greek Olympics that the first competitive high jump took place.
The first recorded high jump competition was in the early 19th century, and that unknown jumper cleared a height of 5’6″.
By 1895 the World Record stood at 6′ 5 1/2″. To get to that height, jumpers used a method known as the “scissors kick.”
Approaching the bar backwards, jumpers would kick one leg up and then another, in a scissors fashion, to get over the bar.
But that technique had its limits as there was only so high you could go. So when the bar was raised, a new technique had to be developed.
Around the turn of the century, the “Western Roll” became the way to go. The jumper made a forward-facing approach, kicked his inside leg up, and then rolled over the bar belly first.
With the Western Roll, the World Record went up to 6′ 7″. But it too had its limits.
So when it was found that the bar had been raised once more, innovative jumpers modified the Western Roll by adding a bit of speed and developed what was known as the “Straddle Technique.”
By doing so, by 1957 the World Record was quickly raised to 7′. Valeriy Brumel of the old Soviet Union was the master of the straddle. But it too had its limits.
There was only so high one could go using that particular technique. And the bar kept being raised.
So in 1967 an American named Dick Fosbury developed a most unusual, but very effective method of clearing the bar that has come to be called-quite appropriately-the “Fosbury Flop.”
Running toward the bar, the jumper twists his body and arches his back as he goes over the bar.
Using the Flop, the World Record has been raised several times, and is currently held by Cuba’s Javier Sotomayor. In 1993, he cleared an amazing 8’1/2″.
The history of the high jump shows an interesting trend. Every time the bar was raised, a new technique to get over it had to be developed.
It’s Time to Raise the Bar
I am sharing this message with you, not because I want you to know the history of a sporting event, but because it speaks directly to you and everything about your life, career, family and legacy.
We are each called to “raise the bar” in our own lives. So make today the best, most productive day that you have had this year by finding new and innovative ways to creatively get what you want and need.
Don’t hold back on your life, shoot for the stars and have fun while doing it.