One has to feel sorry for Olympic favorite Blanka Vlasic. She hasn’t lost a high jump competition in 35 meets, and was heavily favored to win the Gold medal.
After jumping cleanly through 2.03m, only Anna Chicherova and Tia Hellabaut cleared the same height, but with a total of 3 missed attempts each.
The high jump rules are simple:
The winner goes to the jumper who clears the greatest height during the final. If two or more jumpers tie for first place, the tie-breakers are:
1) The fewest misses at the height at which the tie occurred
2) The fewest misses throughout the competition.
If the event remains tied, the jumpers have a jump-off, beginning at the next greater height. Each jumper has one attempt. The bar is then alternately lowered and/or raised until only one jumper succeeds at a given height.
If everyone missed 2.05, then Blanka Vlasic would have been declared the winner.
Onwards to 2.05m
If you are going to set a personal best, season best, and a National Record, the Olympic Finals is the perfect venue to do it. And that’s what Tia Hellabaut did on her first attempt at 2.05m.
Vlasic missed on her first attempt but cleared it on her second attempt. Chicherova missed all 3 jumps and settled for bronze.
Onwards to 2.07m
Blanka Vlasic knew she had to clear 2.07m to win the Gold. She failed at all 3 attempts, and Hellabaut took one jump, missed and passed on her next jump.
Their jumping styles are a contrast. Tia Hellabaut, a former heptathlete, stands 5’10” and uses her speed on her approach, where as Blanka Vlasic stands 6’4″. Hellabaut’s speed on the runway reminds me of Zhu Jianhua of China when he dominated the Men’s High Jump in the early eighties.
In any event, this was a great competition to watch.