The 4 Jumping Sports in Athletics

As the name suggests, jumping sports involve either jumping as high or as far as possible in order to win. Read on to find out more about the main ones!
The 4 Jumping Sports in Athletics

Last update: 31 May, 2020

Athletics is truly a complete sport, testing competitors to run faster, jump higher, or throw further. But in this article, we’ll focus on jumping sports and what they involve. Maybe you’ll want to give one a try yourself!

What jumping sports are there?

Professional athletics, World Athletics, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) endorse four jumping sports, two of which concern height and two of which concern distance.

1. Long jump

The aim of this event is to jump the furthest distance possible after a run-up. It’s been part of the Olympic Games for men since Athens 1896 and for women since London 1948. However, this event was also part of the ancient games in the pentathlon.

The jumper wears studded shoes and runs along a 50-meter track until the jump line. The jump line is between one and three meters from a wet sandpit which is about 10 ft wide and 33 ft long.

A female athlete performing a long jump, which is one of the most well-known jumping sports.

The men’s world record is 8.95 meters, set by American Mike Powell in 1991, and the women’s record is 7.52 meters, set in 1988 by the Russian Galina Chistiakova.

2. Triple jump: jumping sports

The triple jump is a full test of athletic ability and has been part of the games since the very first in Athens 1896. However, women had to wait until Atlanta 1996 to participate.

To perform the triple jump (which you can see in the header photo), you need to carry out three different steps. First, you must jump off one leg, then skip using the same leg, and then finally jump off the other leg. As in the long jump, the athlete will land in a sandpit and the measurement will be taken as the distance between the take-off board and the closest footprint. This means that an athlete has to be very careful not to fall backward on landing!

The men’s world record belongs to the Briton, Jonathan Edwards, who achieved 18.29 m in 1995. That same year, the Ukrainian, Inessa Kravets set the women’s world record with 15.50 meters.

3. High jump: jumping sports

This is one of the other types of jumping sports because this time the athletes are trying to jump higher rather than further. The aim is to jump over a bar which is held between two posts four meters apart. The jumper takes a short run-up to gain momentum and can take three attempts to try and clear the bar.

If the athlete clears the bar without knocking the bar down, they can ask for the bar to be raised either three, four, five, or six centimeters for their next attempt. Their score will be the highest they can jump without knocking the bar down.

High jumping has also been a part of every edition of the modern Olympic Games, although women had to wait until Amsterdam 1928 to take part.

A female athlete doing the high jump.

The current jumping technique involves jumping with your back to the bar and was the invention of American Dick Fosbury. The ‘Fosbury Flop’ replaced the scissors jump and allowed athletes to jump even higher than before.

The men’s world record belongs to Cuban Javier Sotomayor, set at 2.45 meters in 1993. The women’s record belongs to Bulgarian Stefka Kostadinova, with 2.09 meters in 1987.

4. Pole vault

The pole vault also involves trying to jump over a bar, but this time, the athlete uses a flexible pole as support. The pole is made of fiberglass and carbon and measures between 13 and 16.5 feet long.

A female athlete performing a pole vault, which is one of the main jumping sports.

This event has been part of the Olympic Games since the first edition in 1896. However, once again, the women had to wait and the women’s pole vault only became part of the program at Sydney 2000. The men’s world record belongs to Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie (6.16 meters in 2014) and the women’s to the Russian Yelena Isinbayeva (5.06 meters in 2009).

There’s one other jumping sport that we can mention that forms part of the Olympics and that’s equestrian jumping. However, this discipline is obviously done on horseback and isn’t a track and field event.

It might interest you...
The Different Disciplines of Athletics and Their Benefits
Fit People
Read it in Fit People
The Different Disciplines of Athletics and Their Benefits

If you practice a certain discipline of athletics you must know that in order to win, you must put in your best effort. Find out more in this artic...