06 MAR 2004 General News

Men High Jump Final

As overwhelming a favourite as Stefan Holm was in this event tonight, it was almost as though the rest of the field were content to turn such a pronouncement into a self-fulfilling prophecy by presenting the Swede with the gold medal as the crossbar rested at a tepid 2.29. 

Were it not for the single heroics of European outdoor champion Yaroslav Rybakov in extending the competition past 2.29 and 2.32 to 2.35, the event would have paled even more on a most remarkable evening which had already seen two world records elsewhere on the infield.

In winning his third world indoor title, Holm made his trademark error-free march through the height progression, starting at 2.20 and ending at 2.35, at which point he was assured of the win.  He then called for 2.41--a height he had never experienced before--and had at least one respectable attempt to close out the night.

Rybakov's third-attempt success at 2.29 seemed to be the gate-opener the Russian had been seeking, as he moved onward to a first-jump clearance of 2.32 which Holm matched.  However, a would-be PB 2.35 was too much for him on this evening, and Rybakov was the no-contest winner of the silver.

Although all of tonight's jumpers had cleared 2.27 one day earlier as an entrance requirement to the finals, the three bronze medallists today could only muster 2.25, the lowest height needed for third place in world indoor history.  Years from now, however, the medal chests of Czech Jaroslav Baba, Jamaica's Germaine Mason, and Stefan Vasilache of Romania will likely display their hardware without any reference to this fact.