With a personal best of 2.42m, only one man has ever jumped higher than Mutaz Essa Barshim. SPIKES ask the gravity-defying 23-year-old to recall his three favourite ever jumps.
1. Malmo, Sweden – 2.20m (indoor) – Jan 23, 2010
“The first time I jumped over 2.20m was a great feeling for me. I was so happy. It was amazing.
“It felt like I opened up a different door and I could see a whole new level. My PB was 2.16m going into that competition. I wasn’t so confident. I was only at the beginning of my career with a bad technique. To clear 2.20m was, like, wow!”
He jumped 2.20m with a bad technique. No wonder he's bossing the high jump now.
2. Hanoi, Vietnam – 2.31m – July 3, 2010
“Another special jump for me was when I first cleared the 2.30m barrier with 2.31m at the Asian Junior Championships in Vietnam.
“I travelled over there from Europe and stayed in a room without any windows. I thought ‘how can I stay in a room without windows?’ I was jet-lagged and the night before my competition I didn’t sleep at all. My coach [Stanislaw Szczyrba] said to me about not sleeping ‘it doesn’t matter, you are ready’. That gave me a lot of confidence.
“I remember clearing 2.23m along with the Chinese jumper Zhang Guowei. He then passed at 2.29m. I cleared it. He then failed at 2.31m and I managed to clear it for a world junior leading mark. I was so happy that night I couldn’t sleep again.”
Barshim clears 2.40 at Eugene last year: “I’ll never forget it. It was a great feeling.”
3. Eugene, USA – 2.40m – June 1, 2013
“It was another big competition with a strong field. Eugene is one of my favourite places to jump because it feels like the home of athletics. I always have a good feeling when I come to Eugene, and want to perform well.
“It was the first time I had travelled to a big meet without my coach, but I had his thoughts in my heart. I had already secured the competition with 2.37m before I put the bar up to 2.39m, where I had two failures.
“I then thought ‘I’m the winner, why don’t I put the bar up to 2.40m?’ I was making one attempt at that height and I made it. It meant so much to me to be part of the 2.40-club. I’ll never forget it. It was a great feeling.”