Do you know how scoring works in the high jump?

High Jump has been in the Olympic Games since 1896, but do you know how scoring works in the high jump event? Read the below article, to find out.

In the sport of high jumping, competitors launch themselves into the air and clear a horizontal bar with a running start. To outjump your rivals and clear the highest height feasible is the aim. Originating in Scotland in the 1800s, the sport has been a consistent fixture of the Olympic Games since 1896. Learn more about high jump scoring in the below article.

High Jump tracking

In high jump, there isn’t a real “scoring system.” In contrast to other sports involving jumping or gymnastics, high jumpers are only evaluated on how well they clear the horizontal bar. In truth, the way competitors cleared the bar is not taken into account when choosing a winner, not even in a tie-breaker scenario. Who can clear the bar at the highest height is the only way to determine who wins at the high jump events.


Number of attempts

Every contestant has three attempts to clear the bar. They will be eliminated after three tries at clearing the bar. Retrying to pass the bar more than once does not immediately result in a penalty. Nonetheless, in the event of a tie at the finish, the winner is the individual who had the fewest unsuccessful tries. 

A jump-off will decide the winner if the athletes have the same amount of misses. Every competitor has one shot at each height during a jump-off, and the bar will keep rising until a winner is determined.

Winner of the event

Participants are eliminated following each height they are unable to clear. The winner of the competition is the one with the highest leap. When one athlete clears the bar and the other fails in a jump-off, that athlete wins. Cuban Javier Sotomayer still holds the men’s high jump record, having jumped 2.45 metres in 1993. Stefka Kostadinova of Bulgaria set the women’s record in 1987 with a jump of 2.09 metres.

Elimination from the competition

An athlete will be disqualified from the tournament after failing three straight high jump attempts. A rival may lose an attempt in one of three ways. First, it’s considered an attempt if the athlete doesn’t generally clear the prescribed height. Next, a competitor’s jump will be deemed void and count as an attempt if they do not follow a suitable form. Only one foot may be used for a jump, and failing to do so is considered an attempt. Lastly, it is considered a failed attempt if a competitor jumps and breaks the plane or dislocates the bar.

Also Read: What is Shot Put? What is its history and rules?

Bar Height

Only the chief judge has the authority to decide how high the threshold should be. After that, the athlete might choose to pass the bar or accept its height. The athlete is eliminated if another competitor clears the predetermined height, however they are not penalised for passing.

Rules summary

  • For every height, competitors get three attempts to clear the bar.
  • The chief judge alone has the authority to set the bar’s height.
  • A participant is eliminated after three attempts if they are unable to clear the bar.
  • The winner of the competition is the participant who clears the tallest bar.
  • In situations when there is a tie, the contestant who has made the fewest mistakes is deemed the winner. Athletes compete in a jump-off until one is unable to clear the bar if there is still a tie.


In the exhilarating world of high jumping, the pursuit of soaring to new heights has captivated athletes for centuries. Since its inception in 19th century Scotland to its prestigious place in the Olympic Games, the high jump remains a thrilling display of athleticism and determination. Unlike other sports, the high jump’s scoring is straightforward: it’s all about clearing that bar. With rules dictating attempts, eliminations, and tie-breakers, the path to victory is both strategic and demanding. Ultimately, the athlete who conquers the highest height emerges victorious, etching their name into the annals of high jump history.

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