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Events: Athletic: Freestyle High Jump & Long Jump



Freestyle High Jump & Long Jump

Not only are there many ways of jumping, there are ways of jumping higher and further that are not allowed in current athletic competition, and therefore not seen and celebrated. So how far can a person, unrestrained by traditional rules of method, actually jump? In order to find the answer to this question, and create a lot of interest along the way, the Fringe Games will hold what is believed to be the world's first international freestyle long and high jump competitions. In these events, any non-mechanized method of jumping may be used. For the long jump, this includes the use of weights but not elevated take-off stands. Somersaults are permitted. For the high jump, a take-off from two feet is allowed but not with the assistance of take-off mounds. A ruling on shoes is still pending.

There were many jumping events listed in the record books of the late 19th century, a few of which survived into this century. The greatest long jumps are made with weights. John Howard of Chester jumped 8.95 meters (29ft 7in) late last century using 3.60 kg (8lb) dumb-bells. This is equal to the current world record for the long jump set by Mike Powel of USA in Tokyo in 1991. The hitch and kick was used by the great Irish American high jumper Michael Sweeny to jump 2.90m (9ft 4in) at the turn of the century Professional Highland Games of the East Coast in America. This still stands as a "world record." The current official world record set by Javier Sotomayor in 1993 is 2.45m (7ft 11in).

With the development of the International Athletics Federation in 1912, many of the jumps which had enriched nineteenth century athletics programs were replaced by just one or two. Despite this, official interest in retaining the standing jumps, the three spring jumps and a "gymnastic" vault, continued for some time and, unofficially, continues today. It seems that the exploration of new variations and possibilities in jumping will not only be of great interest to the public, but will also enable us to improve our understanding of human physiological potential.


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