In the high jump event, athletes sprint down a runway towards a four metre long horizontal bar and jump vertically over the bar onto a cushioned mattress. The crossbar is increased in height as the competition progresses and more competitors are knocked out. There are various methods of jumping over the bar, but the most common is known as the ‘Fosbury Flop’, where the athlete curves the direction of the run during their last four strides, draping themselves over the bar and landing on to their back. Whatever their chosen method of jumping over the bar, all contestants are required to make the take-off from one foot. After three failed jumps an athlete is eliminated from the competition.
Like many field events, the long jump involves more skill and technique than just being able to jump. First, the athlete must have good speed as they sprint down the runway to prepare for the jump; next, they must have very good footwork at the end of their run so they can launch as close to the line as possible without going over the line and faulting; third they must make a good jump; and lastly, they must have proper form through the air and into the landing. All of these techniques and skills must be executed to perfection to pull off a good long jump. The distance travelled is measured by the first mark made by the athlete’s body in the sand on landing.
Also known as ‘the hop, step and jump’ the triple jump requires the athlete to begin with speed, but to maintain energy for the take-off. The triple jump begins with a sprint down the runway and is followed by a hop, a step and a jump before the athlete propels their body into the air, with the aim of landing as far from the starting point as possible, in the same manner as the long jump. When the athlete hops, they must land on the same foot as they began sprinting on and the step should land on the opposite foot. As with the long jump, no part of the body must touch the ground between jumping and landing and the jump is classified as a fail if the athlete begins jumping after the take-off line.
The pole vault requires the athlete to clear the height of a horizontal bar with the assistance of a vertical pole, with the bar increasing in height as more athletes are eliminated from the competition. The athlete begins the jump by sprinting down a runway and then plants the pole into a box in front of the bar, using the pole to power over the bar. As with the high jump, a pole vault is classified as a fail if the contestant knocks the bar down during the vault and after three failed attempts the athlete is eliminated from the competition.