Javier Sotomayor’s mythical record (2.45m) turns 30: ‘I thought it wouldn’t last’

American Bob Beamon got into Olympic Games in Mexico 1968. a mark that can rival anyone is considered the most mythical in the history of athletics: his jump of 8.90 meters was held for 23 years as a world record for longitude, while his compatriot Mike Powell He jumped 8.95 in 1991, but Beamon’s 8.90 will also forever remain in the collective memory as an unforgettable figure due to the extraordinary nature of this feat in those years.

Something similar happens with the legendary high jump world record. Javier Sotomayorthe man who made the greatest vertical jump of all time, able to lift his entire body above 2.45 meters without dropping the terrible crossbar, which is one centimeter higher than the crossbar of a football goal.

then appeared Usain Bolt and he ran so fast in 2009 that his “times” of 9:58 for the 100m and 19:19 for the 200m make him the fastest man in history with the two records equally captured in the popular imagination. The Jamaican has held those records for 14 years, less than half the certainty of Sotomayor’s 2.45, who turns 30 at the top of the record table this Thursday.

Indeed, Javier Sotomayor jumped 2.45 meters. July 27, 1993, Salamancacuriously the same city where, five years earlier, his era of the world record holder in high jump began: on September 8, 1988, he jumped 2.43 m and snatched the peak from the Swede Patrick Sjöberg (2.42 m). Since then, 35 years ago, no one has moved a Cuban further from the rankings than a Qatari. Mutaz Essa Barshim (2.43) or Ukrainian Bogdan Bondarenko (2.42 m) came closest in 2014 to that distant horizon.

Javier Sotomayor jumped 2.45 meters on July 27, 1993 in Salamanca, the same city where he set his first record (2.43) in 1988: he has been the world record holder for 35 years.

Athletes aspire for big titles and Sotomayor got them all, but curiously, in her case, her record is much more popular than her gold, which has its merits, considering that she won the Olympic title in Barcelona’92and six world championships, two outdoors (1993, 1997) and four indoors (1989, 1993, 1995, 1999). Olympic silver (2000) and two outdoor world silver medals (1991, 1995) are other great medals from his track record.

“Being an Olympic champion and world champion has not been taken away from me, but as long as I have a record, I put it ahead of me. After all, this is what people remember me most of all, I am pleased with this. It was a perfect season, I felt very good. The week before, in London, I felt even better, but the rain started when I had already jumped at 2.40. Fate wanted it to be in Salamanca and I won’t regret it,” said Sotomayor in an interview with MD in 2020, when this newspaper invited him to Barcelona to provide him Myths about the sports trophy at the Mundo Deportivo Grand Gala.

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“I benefited from a fantastic time in the high jump which pushed me to my results. Patrick Sjöberg, Traenhardt, Megenburg, Poles, Conway, Austin… So many people jumping over 2.40 and 2.42 is what made me reach 2.45. A few years ago, Sjöberg was in Havana. So I tell him: do you know who is to blame for my jumping 2.45? Well, you,” recalled the 55-year-old Cuban, the current secretary of the Cuban Athletics Federation.

Hosts Jordi Baste and Javier Sotomayor in front of a bar 2.45 meters away at the grand MD 2020 gala.

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“I thought that my record would not last long. In 1988, when I set my first world record, I had no idea that he would last as long as the record holder. At that time, the height record lasted no more than Four years. Talk about restrictions in athletics is difficult, but the higher you go, the less headroom remains. As long as this record holds, I am almost sure that if anyone ever reaches 2.50 meters, I will not see him again, ”added Sotomayor , to which the young man had to overcome his “fear of heights”.

“Being an Olympic champion and world champion has not been taken away from me, but as long as I have a record, I put it ahead of me. After all, that’s what people remember me for the most.”

Javier SotomayorHigh jump record holder since 1988.

“In order to jump 2.45 meters, you first need to have talent. The rest is work, discipline. I was lucky, and at first I didn’t like the high jump, it scared me, at first it was very scary. It took me from the age of 15. From the age of 10 I set myself goals centimeter by centimeter, no more. It was a fear of heights. Now it’s just a curious memory, ”recalled the world record holder.

Why is he better than other jumpers? “Maybe strength and speed. I wasn’t the fastest jumper, but I was the one who got into the rhythm faster. And I was very strong mentally, ”said Javier Sotomayor, who has been tied to the magic number for him and athletics for 30 years: 2.45.

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