Men’s Olympic HJ Preview: Who Will Win This Wide Open Affair?

August 12, 2016 to August 21, 2016

The men’s HJ is wide open as the top 6 jumpers are separated by just 4 cm (1.6 inches). Can Erik Kynard improve on his 2012 silver and win the U.S.’s first gold in the event since Charles Austin in 1996?

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August 11, 2016

Four years ago in London, the men’s high jump competition was so close that five — yes, five — medals were awarded as there was a three-way tie for third. Last year’s high jump at Worlds was even more dramatic: four men cleared 2.33 but no one managed to clear a higher height, leading to a three-way jump-off to determine the order of medals (Mutaz Essa Barshim, who cleared 2.33 but had a miss on his sheet, had to settle for fourth). The main players from those competitions are all back save for 2012 Olympic champ Ivan Ukhov of Russia, which should make for a tremendous final Tuesday night in Rio. We break down the event below.

What: Men’s High Jump
When: Preliminary round – 7:30 p.m. ET Sunday, August 14
Final – 7:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, August 16

2016 World Top 10
1 2.4 Mutaz Essa Barshim QAT 11-Jun
2 2.39 Gianmarco Tamberi ITA 15-Jul – injured and not at Olympics.
3 2.38 Derek Drouin CAN 17-Jul
4 2.37 Bohdan Bondarenko UKR 15-Jul
4 2.37 Donald Thomas BAH 18-Jul
6 2.36 Majed El Dein Ghazal SYR 18-May
7 2.35 Erik Kynard USA 5-Jun
7 2.35 Ivan Ukhov RUS 28-Jul – not in Olympics due to Russian ban
9 2.33 Zhang Guowei CHN 8-May
9 2.33 Wang Yu CHN 8-May

Erik Kynard at USA Indoors this year

Erik Kynard at USA Indoors last year

2015 Worlds Final
1. Derek Drouin  Canada (CAN) 2.34
2. Bohdan Bondarenko  Ukraine (UKR) 2.33
2. Zhang Guowei  China (CHN) 2.33
4. Mutaz Essa Barshim  Qatar (QAT) 2.33
5. Daniil Tsyplakov  Russia (RUS) 2.29


Betting Favorites as of Aug 10

Track and Field News Top 3 Picks:

1. Bogdan Bondarenko (Ukraine) 2.42 | 7-11¼ (’14)
2. Mutaz Essa Barshim (Qatar) 2.43 | 7-11¾ (’14)
3. Derek Drouin (Canada) 2.40 | 7-10½ (’14)

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The 2016 Olympic men’s high jump could be won by a number of men as the top six jumpers are separated by just four centimeters (1.6 inches). The bookies say that 2016 world leader Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar is the favorite but we don’t agree. Barshim was only 4th at World Indoors and has lost his last two meets – one that was won by Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi (who is injured and out of the Olympics) and one that was won by reigning world champ Derek Drouin of Canada. If Tamberi were healthy, he’d be the favorite as he won World Indoors and then Europeans and Monaco in his last two meets.

US champ Erik Kynard, who won silver in 2012, has been first or second in all of his outdoor meets. Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko also has been first or second in all of his meets outdoors but we like him better as he won in 2013 and got silver in 2015 and has jumped higher this year. He’s our pick.

LRC Picks: Gold: Bondarenko Silver: Drouin Bronze: Kynard.

Want more info? Check out the IAAF event preview.