The men's high jump competition in Berlin will feature many men capable of medaling. Handicapping the field initially seems difficult, as 18 men have jumped between 2.35m and 2.30m in the 2009 outdoor season. But with history as our guide, we try to make sense of the log jam and present our favorites in the muddled event.
The high jump is an event where you have many guys who get lucky and jump over 2.30m once in a while, and you have the select few individuals who can consistently better the 2.30 barrier, especially in crunch time at the major competitions.
At first glance, the high jump looks to be a battle between the USA and Russia, as jumpers from the two global superpowers occupy the top 5 positions on the 2009 world list. Comparing the two national teams, we give an enormous edge to Russia with their trio of Ivan Ukhov, Yaroslav Rybakov (pictured above with the mullet) and Andrey Tereshin. All three have bested 2.33m this year outdoors, and they finished 1-2-3 in the Russian Trials at 2.35, 2.35 and 2.33. Russia's reigning Olympic champion Andrey
Silnov will miss Berlin due to injury.
Ukhov is a wild card. Only 23 years old, he is yet to battle at a major global championship. His maturity and poise are certainly question marks after last year's drunken high jumping. But he may well win the competition if his mid-season form continues in to August. Ukhov came through at the pressure-packed Russian Trials by jumping a huge height to defeat his rivals, who make up a good portion of the world's top jumpers. Rybakov is perhaps the odds-on favorite, having medaled almost
a dozen times in major international championships. He has the ability, the poise, and the experience factors leaning in his favor. Tereshin is also a World Championships medal winner from the 2006 indoor competition.
Russian high-jumping fans will be glad to not see the man to the left, Sweden's Stefan Holm, competing any longer. Holm was a master at beating the Russians to WC medals, especially indoors.
The American men are led by Andra Manson, who shares the world lead at 2.35m this year. Next comes Eugene native Jesse Williams at 2.34m and Princeton grad Tora Harris at 2.31m. But the lists don't tell the whole story. Manson has not cleared 2.29m in the last 3 months, and Harris will do well to make the final.
Williams, however, is a really complicated story. He's not officially on the US team, as he was 4th at the trials (Keith Moffatt is the 3rd American entered). But hopefully somebody drops out and Williams will get to jump because he's the only American performing like he has a chance of medaling.
Williams got a huge boost from his performance at the DN Galan in Stockholm, where he bested basically the same field he would meet in the Berlin final. He beat Rybakov, Ukhov, Manson and the rest. Initially we had written off the Americans, but we think Williams should be thinking medal in Berlin, if he somehow gets entered.
Believe it or not, there are viable competitors from countries other than the US and Russia. We think Czech jumper Jaroslav Bába will contend as he did when he medaled in the 2004 Olympics, as will former world champion Donald Thomas (BAH), former Olympic runner-up Germaine Mason (GBR) (out due to injury), WC indoor medalist Linus Thörnblad of Sweden (2.38i PR) and Jessé de Lima of Brazil.
LRC Predictions: Gold: Ivan Ukhov RUS Silver: Yaroslav Rybakov RUS Bronze: Jaroslav Bába CZE 4th: Jesse Williams USA (?)
Men's HJ Statistical Analysis By LRC Guru John Kellogg
2.35 Andra Manson (USA) (= #10 all-time USA) Bronze medal in 2008 World Indoor Championships
2.35 Ivan Ukhov (RUS) PR 2.40i (= #5 all-time) (2009)
2.35 Yaroslav Rybakov (RUS) PR 2.38i (2008) Gold medal in 2006 World Indoor Championships, silver medal in 2008 World Indoor Championships, silver medal in 2007 World Championships, silver medal in 2005 World Championships, silver medal in 2004 World Indoor Championships, silver medal in 2003 World Indoor Championships, silver medal in 2001 World Championships, bronze medal in 2008 Olympic Games, gold medal in 2002 World Cup, 6th in 2004 Olympic Games, 9th
in 2003 World Championships
2.34 Jesse Williams (USA) PR 2.36i (= #6 all-time USA) (2009)+
+ 2.33 Aleksey Dmitrik (RUS) PR 2.34i (2005)
2.33 Jaroslav Bába (CZE) PR 2.37i (2005) Bronze medal in 2004 Olympic Games, bronze medal in 2004 World Indoor Championships, 5th in 2005 World Championships, 6th in 2008 Olympic Games, 8th in 2007 World Championships, 9th in 2008 World Indoor Championships, 9th in 2003 World Indoor Championships, 11th in 2003 World Championships
2.33 Andrey Tereshin (RUS) PR 2.36i (2008) Silver medal in 2006 World Indoor Championships
2.31 Raul Spank (GER) PR 2.32 (2008) 5th in 2008 Olympic Games
2.31 Jessé de Lima (BRA) 10th in 2008 Olympic Games, 13th in 2007 World Championships, 6th in 2006 World Cup
+ 2.31 Aleksandr Shustov (RUS)
2.31 Linus Thörnblad (SWE) PR 2.38i (2007) Bronze medal in 2006 World Indoor Championships, 15th in 2007 World Championships
2.31 Yuriy Krymarenko (UKR) PR 2.34i Gold medal in 2005 World Championships
2.31 Tora Harris (USA) PR 2.33 (2006) Bronze medal in 2006 World Cup
2.31 Giulio Ciotti (ITA) 7th in 2006 World Indoor Championships
2.31 Germaine Mason (GBR)+ PR 2.34 (2008) Silver medal in 2008 Olympic Games, bronze medal in 2004 World Indoor Championships, 5th in 2003 World Championships
2.30 Donald Thomas (BAH) PR 2.35 (2007) Gold medal in 2007 World Championships, 4th in 2006 Commonwealth Games
2.30 Kyriakos Ioannou (CYP) PR 2.35 (2007) Bronze medal in 2008 World Indoor Championships, bronze medal in 2007 World Championships, bronze medal in 2006 Commonwealth Games, 10th in 2005 World Championships
2.30(A) Mickael Hanany (FRA) PR 2.32 (2008)
2.29 Dragutin Topic (SRB) PR 2.38 (1993) Bronze medal in 1997 World Indoor Championships, 4th in 2003 World Indoor Championships, 4th in 1999 World Championships, 4th in 1996 Olympic Games, 6th in 2008 World Indoor Championships, 8th in 1995 World Championships, 9th in 2005 World Championships, 9th in 1991 World Championships, 10th in 2004 Olympic Games, 11th in 1991 World Indoor Championships
+ 2.28 Keith Moffatt (USA) PR 2.30 (2006)
+ 2.21 Andrey Silnov (RUS)+ PR 2.38 (2007) Gold medal in 2008 Olympic Games, silver medal in 2006 World Cup, 11th in 2007 World Championships
+ = Not on Worlds Team in HJ