YearEnder: JUMPS


2005 - End of Year Reviews - JUMPS
Monday 26 December 2005
In the third installment of their eight edition review of the highlights of the 2005 Athletics year, A. Lennart Julin and Mirko Jalava browse over the JUMPS.

MEN - Jumps

High Jump

Dwight Phillips celebrates winning gold in the men’s Long Jump - Helsinki
(Getty Images)

Olympic champion Stefan Holm came to the 2005 indoor season having won all of his 22 competitions in 2004 including the World Indoor Championships in Budapest and the Olympic Games in Athens. The start of the indoor season was however very difficult for the Swede. 21-year-old Russian Aleksey Dmitrik immediately hit the jackpot winning in Glasgow in January with a third-time clearance at his personal best height of 2.34m ahead of Holm’s 2.32m for second place. Holm was only able to grab his first win in his fifth competition of the indoor campaign, in the Swedish Indoor Championships which was also his last competition before the European Indoor Championships in Madrid. But the Swede was again up to the task there winning with a big personal best of 2.40m fighting off a strong challenge from Yaroslav Rybakov who set a Russian indoor record 2.38m for second place.

That was a big weekend for the High Jump as the day before Jacques Freitag, the reigning World Champion from Saint-Denis 2003, had jumped an African record outdoors of 2.38m in his native South Africa.

The outdoor season furthermore produced another 2.38m clearance for Andriy Sokolovsky (UKR) and 2.36m jumps for Michal Bieniek (POL), Jaroslav Bába (CZE) and Holm.

But no athlete was able to the take the dominant position during the summer and this lead to a huge surprise in Helsinki. In a low-quality final in terms of results, Ukrainian Yuriy Krimarenko, competing only three days after his 22nd birthday, surprised the favourites, winning with a 2.32m leap. Krimarenko had only jumped 2.23m before 2005 and had cleared a personal best of 2.33m before Helsinki in what was his only competition over 2.30m ever. Victor Moya, the best Cuban jumper since World record holder Javier Sotomayor, took the silver in Helsinki, and claimed his place at the top of the world following the World Championships with wins in Brussels and at the World Athletics Final in Monaco where he took the win with a first time clearance at 2.35m.

In 2005 there were 23 jumpers over 2.30m, in 2004 we had 21 and 24 in 2003. United States is the best country with 16 athletes in the world top 100, Russia has nine and Poland seven.

Men’s High Jump - IAAF WORLD RANKINGS - as of 12 Dec 2005 Position - Name - DOB - Country - Points

  1. Yaroslav RYBAKOV 80 RUS 1346
  2. Stefan HOLM 76 SWE 1346
  3. Víctor MOYA 82 CUB 1325
  4. Jaroslav BÁBA 84 CZE 1315
  5. Vyacheslav VORONIN 74 RUS 1294
  6. Andriy SOKOLOVSKIY 78 UKR 1253
  7. Jacques FREITAG 82 RSA 1248
  8. Yuriy KRYMARENKO 83 UKR 1242

Pole Vault

Paul Burgess jumped at ten meetings during 2005, all of his competitions were in Australia and seven of them in his home town Perth in West Australia. Burgess had recorded a personal best of 5.77m in 2004 following three successive seasons at 5.70m or better. In his second competition of the season on January 15, he cleared 5.91m and made three tries at 6.00m. He finally needed seven jumps at the magical height before clearing 6.00m on 26 February in Perth. Injury in the summer prevented Burgess from showing what he is capable of outside his hometown.

In the Grand Prix meetings there were almost as many winners as there were competitions. Brad Walker (USA) scored some good wins prior to Helsinki, winning the US Championships both indoors and outdoors, but was beaten in a World Championships final which was affected by difficult wind conditions and cold weather. Walker took the silver behind a surprise winner Rens Blom (NED) who tied his personal best of 5.80m to take the gold. Walker was even stronger after Helsinki, winning with 5.90m in Sheffield before setting a personal best of 5.96m in Rieti in late August.

The top US-duo from 2004, Olympic champion Tim Mack and silver medallist Toby Stevenson, were far from their level during last season and could not perform as expected during the 2005 campaign.

In 2005 there were 15 athletes at 5.80m or better, in 2004 we had 19 in 2004 and 10 in 2003. United States is clearly the best nation with 27 athletes at the world top 100, France is second with 14 and Russian third on 9.

Men’s Pole Vault - IAAF WORLD RANKINGS - as of 12 Dec 2005 Position - Name - DOB - Country - Points

  1. Brad WALKER 81 USA 1376
  2. Tim LOBINGER 72 GER 1330
  3. Rens BLOM 77 NED 1298
  4. Giuseppe GIBILISCO 79 ITA 1289
  5. Derek MILES 72 USA 1282
  6. Toby STEVENSON 76 USA 1280
  7. Igor PAVLOV 79 RUS 1278
  8. Denys YURCHENKO 78 UKR 1255

Long Jump

In the men’s Long Jump, the reigning Olympic champion Dwight Phillips (USA) did not compete indoors and only attended a few bigger meetings prior to Helsinki. Phillips won 14 out of 16 competitions during 2005 and took his second successive World Championships title with a world leading jump of 8.60m. The American’s late season included several quality jumps, including an 8.57m winning mark in Linz in August and an 8.46m effort at the World Athletics Final in Monaco.

Fellow American Miguel Pate defeated Phillips twice during the season, but was surprisingly left out of the final in Helsinki. Ignisious Gaisah was an unfamiliar silver medallist in the World Championships, reaching a national record of 8.34m, but the biggest event for the home crowd was the bronze medal for Tommi Evilä at 8.25m (wind assisted). In a close competition, Evilä beat Cuban-born Joan Lino Martinez (ESP) by just one cm, with only 5cm separating places three to six.

During the 2005 season there were only 23 athletes over 8.15m with 34 in 2004 and 30 in 2003.

Men’s Long Jump - IAAF WORLD RANKINGS - as of 12 Dec 2005
Position - Name - DOB - Country - Points

  1. Dwight PHILLIPS 77 USA 1394
  2. Miguel PATE 79 USA 1294
  3. Ignisious GAISAH 83 GHA 1292
  4. Joan Lino MARTÍNEZ 78 ESP 1260
  5. Tommi EVILÄ 80 FIN 1256
  6. Salim SDIRI 78 FRA 1247
  7. James BECKFORD 75 JAM 1241
  8. Irving SALADINO 83 PAN 1234

Triple Jump

The biggest news of the early Triple Jump season was the absence of Olympic champion Christian Olsson (SWE). It was thought that Olsson could make it to the World Championships in Helsinki, but in the end he did not start a single competition during the 2005 season. This left the field wide open for other jumpers.

Jadel Gregório (BRA) posted an early mark of 17.71m in late April to take the World lead before improving to a personal best of 17.73m in the National Championships in June. The Brazilian’s form did not last until Helsinki where he could only finish sixth. Another jumper going forward during the 2005 campaign was Marian Oprea (ROM), who recorded several quality competitions before extending the national record to 17.81m with his win at the Athletissima meeting in Lausanne in July.

In the high quality Helsinki final, Oprea grabbed the bronze medal with his last round jump of 17.40m. Despite his fine 17.62m jump indoors in February, Walter Davis (USA) was a shock winner in Helsinki. He increased his season’s best to 17.57m to take the gold ahead of Yoandri Betanzos (CUB) who jumped 17.42m twice during the final. Leevan Sands (BAH) only missed the bronze medal by 1cm and finished fourth.

A big improvement in 2005 came from 23-year-old Nathan Douglas (GBR), who had not broken the 17m limit before this season. Douglas opened his outdoor season with a personal best and first career 17m jump of 17.11m in Bratislava in June and exploded to 17.64m personal best taking his second successive national title in Manchester in July. However, Douglas was unable to reach the final in the cold Helsinki qualification.

During the 2005 season there were 23 athletes over 17.10m with 25 in 2004 and 15 in 2003. United States just tops the list of most successful countries with 11 athletes in the world top-100 closely followed by Russia’s ten and nine by Cuba.

Men’s Triple Jump - IAAF WORLD RANKINGS - as of 12 Dec 2005
Position - Name - DOB - Country - Points

  1. Marian OPREA 82 ROM 1338
  2. Jadel GREGÓRIO 80 BRA 1324
  3. Walter DAVIS 79 USA 1322
  4. Francis Yoandri BETANZOS 82 CUB 1305
  5. Nathan DOUGLAS 82 GBR 1266
  6. Leevan SANDS 81 BAH 1261
  7. Igor SPASOVKHODSKIY 79 RUS 1248
  8. Danil BURKENYA 78 RUS 1242

WOMEN - Jumps

High Jump

When analysing our sport we always run the risk of misinterpreting natural statistical fluctations as true trends of development. At the very top it is mainly about individual athletes that more often than not appear in “clusters” rather than evenly distributed along the time axis, and you have to subscribe to the validity of astrology to find explanations.

The women’s High Jump in the last few years provides a perfect illustration of the tricks played by chance giving us a strange mixture of “highs and lows”. Just look at these numbers which give (counting both indoors and outdoors) the number of 2 metre jumpers and the total number of 2 metre competitions per each year.

1998: 4 jumpers and 7 competitions at 2m or above; 1999: 6 & 12; 2000: 7 & 13; 2001: 5 & 16; 2002: 7 & 21; 2003 15 & 50; 2004: 13 & 38; 2005: 4 & 13.

That it is really the individuals that have created these enormous fluctuations at the top is underlined when one looks at the marks for the 50th performer in the yearly outdoor lists for this period of two Olympic cycles: 1.90 – 1.90 – 1.90 – 1.90 – 1.89 – 1.90 – 1.90 – 1.90!

And despite the apparent “down” statistical character of 2005 at the top it still took the same 2.00m to get the silver medal at the World Championships as in the very much “up” year of 2003!

2006 could very well become another “up” year statistically with 2m jumping the order of the day. World champion Kajsa Bergqvist of Sweden --undefeated in 2005-- is doing “real” training now - not like last year’s slow rehabilitation (after snapping her Achilles in July 2004). Russia’s Olympic champion Yelena Slesarenko is hopefully also back at full force, likewise her compatriot Anna Chicherova, and Croatia’s Blanka Vlasic who also were hampered by injuries in 2005. Also, youthful Helsinki medallists Chaunte Howard (USA) and Emma Green (SWE) should only get better with each year.

Women’s High Jump – IAAF WORLD RANKINGS - as of 12 Dec 2005
Position - Name - DOB - Country - Points

  1. Kajsa BERGQVIST 76 SWE 1360
  2. Anna CHICHEROVA 82 RUS 1275
  3. Chaunte HOWARD 84 USA 1259
  4. Vita PALAMAR 77 UKR 1258
  5. Vita STYOPINA 76 UKR 1223
  6. Venelina VENEVA 74 BUL 1222
  7. Ruth BEITIA 79 ESP 1218
  8. Emma GREEN 84 SWE 1211

Pole Vault

With her recent “a new World record every time” habit Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva probably has fooled us into believing that the women’s Pole Vault is still a young event in a phase of rapid improvements. But just as for the High Jump the marks we read about in the headlines don’t necessarily represent general trends. Just look at this table giving the 10th, 25th and 50th mark in the world outdoor lists for the last four years:

Level - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005
10th - 4.52 - 4.60 - 4.60 - 4.53
25th - 4.40 - 4.40 - 4.45 - 4.40
50th - 4.30 - 4.30 - 4.30 - 4.30

This pattern of stability is very similar to the ones we can find for the “old” events, not a pattern expected for an event supposedly still in its adolescence. But this shouldn’t be so much of a surprise, because the Pole Vault is actually no longer a truly young event.

It has been around for about a decade with the first global senior title awarded over eight years ago (World Indoors 1997) which means that the current world elite mainly consists of athletes that have “grown up” in an era where pole vaulting was part of the standard programme of events for women.

So most likely Isinbayeva, rather than just as a forerunner of things to come, should be regarded as an all-time superstar of stature that perhaps in history will be likened to that of Sergey Bubka. Remember that despite the fact that Bubka first cleared six metres already twenty years ago, this is still today a level very seldomly attained.

Thus the current obvious levelling off in the women’s Pole Vault quite probably should be understood as the event having reached “maturity” and that “take 1 metre off” could very well become the handy rule of thumb for future comparisons between men and women. So that we will view 5.00, 4.80 and 4.50 for women as we now view 6.00, 5.80 and 5.50 for men (i.e. as “exceptional”, “championships medal contender” and “international class”).

Women’s Pole Vault - IAAF WORLD RANKINGS - as of 12 Dec 2005
Position - Name - DOB - Country - Points

  1. Yelena ISINBAYEVA 82 RUS 1453
  2. Monika PYREK 80 POL 1284
  3. Anna ROGOWSKA 81 POL 1275
  4. Tatyana POLNOVA 79 RUS 1207
  5. Pavla HAMÁÈKOVÁ 78 CZE 1197
  6. Vanessa BOSLAK 82 FRA 1177
  7. Dana ELLIS 79 CAN 1163
  8. Carolin HINGST 80 GER 1154

Long Jump

This event has for some years been in something that could be called a state of “recess”. After 2000 the standards dropped markedly – about 10 cm for both the 10th and the 25th level in the year lists. The sharp drop in itself was not that surprising - 2001 was a post-Olympic year after all. But what must be classified as astounding is the fact that the event has remained stuck at that lower level since then despite the fact that we have gone through another full Olympic cycle.

But this stagnant situation can’t go on for ever and perhaps in 2005 we saw signs of an approaching resurgance: Of the top-6 in the 2005 world list only one – Russian Tatyana Kotova – was born earlier than 1981. List leader (and the only 7m jumper) Irina Simagina – who missed Helsinki due to injury – is just 23-years-old, and American Tianna Madison was still a teenager when she surprised everyone by becoming the new World champion.

Women’s Long Jump - IAAF WORLD RANKINGS - as of 12 Dec 2005
Position - Name - DOB - Country - Points

  1. Tatyana KOTOVA 76 RUS 1325
  2. Grace UPSHAW 75 USA 1241
  3. Oksana UDMURTOVA 82 RUS 1236
  4. Anju Bobby GEORGE 77 IND 1234
  5. Tianna MADISON 85 USA 1232
  6. Yargelis SAVIGNE 84 CUB 1206
  7. Eunice BARBER 74 FRA 1202
  8. Carolina KLÜFT 83 SWE 1201

Triple Jump

Although the Triple Jump had Golden League status in 2005 it was the perhaps strongest illustration of the “post Olympic syndrome” in the upper echelon. One logical explanation for this was that 2004 constituted an all-time high for the event by contributing new marks for positions 2, 3 and 4 on the all time list! It is more or less inevitable that such a year will be followed by regression.

However, the magnitude of the regression was somewhat unexpected: All the seven 15m-jumpers of 2004 lost significantly - 23, 43, 123, 46, 5, 34 and 53 centimetres respectively – and no newcomer managed to break into the 15m+ territory.

So outside the World title for Jamaican Trecia Smith, the Triple Jump year 2005 will probably only remembered as the year when Tatyana Lebedeva (RUS) was awarded the Golden League Jackpot of 1 million dollars, as the only athlete managing to win his/her event at all the six Golden League meets.

But perhaps history will teach us that we should rather have focused on the fact that 2005 was the year when 20-years-old long jump talent Yargelis Savigne of Cuba presented herself to the world as the triple jumper of the future by grabbing the World silver medal in Helsinki in her first ever serious season in the event.

Women’s Triple Jump - IAAF WORLD RANKINGS - as of 12 Dec 2005
Position - Name - DOB - Country - Points

  1. Tatyana LEBEDEVA 76 RUS 1367
  2. Trecia SMITH 75 JAM 1347
  3. Anna PYATYKH 81 RUS 1311
  4. Chrysopigi DEVETZI 76 GRE 1300
  5. Yargelis SAVIGNE 84 CUB 1293
  6. Yamilé ALDAMA 72 SUD 1291
  7. Baya RAHOULI 79 ALG 1246
  8. Magdelín MARTÍNEZ 76 ITA 1241

A. Lennart Julin and Mirko Jalava for the IAAF