11 MAR 2001 General News

Final of the men's high jump

Men High Jump Final
Holm completes Swedish double

Suddenly, Sweden is high jump central. On the first night of this World Championships, Kajsa Bergqvist won the women’s event; this afternoon countryman Stefan Holm picked up a gold medal of his own. A frustrated 4th-placer at last year’s Olympics, Holm thus earned the first top-level medal of his career. Compounding Sweden’s dominance of the how-high-can-you-jump event at this meeting, Staffan Strand picked off the gold medal. The two Swedes were split by Ukrainian Andriy Sokolovskyy.

The original field numbered 13, and the first two heights, 2.20 and 2.25, only eliminated one man each. But 2.29 was far more cruel, eliminating five, with the Canadian pair of Mark Boswell and Kwaku Boateng missing twice, then passing to 2.32, where they were eliminated after the first round of jumping.

Amazingly enough, 2.32 would prove to be as high as anyone would be able to go. Not since the inaugural World Championships at Indianapolis in 1987 had the winner gotten by at such a minimal setting. Coincidentally, that winner was Sweden’s only other high jump medalist ever, Patrik Sjoberg.

After the jumping at 2.29, the leader had been the year’s highest jumper, Sokolovskyy, perfect to that point. Holm was 2nd, Strand 3rd and the only other successful jumper at the height, the eponymous Nathan Leeper of the United States, was 4th.

World Record holder Javier Sotomayor of Cuba passed 2.29, then joined in the litany of failure at 2.32 that was broken only by Holm’s clearance on his second attempt. Holm, tiny by high jump standards at a height of just 1.81, closed the day with three misses at 2.36.