Javier Sotomayor (by Sami Zhioua)

I added this page about Javier Sotomayor on my web site because he is one of my favorite athletes (if it is not the best). This is partly because personally I practiced High jump for 4 years when I was teenager. But most importantly because he is the absolute king of high jump. Comparing to the other jumpers, his technique is a "piece of art" (oeuvre d'art) and according to several experts that analyzed it closely it is almost impossible to reproduce and even dangerous ..
Ascension to glory
The greatest high jumper in the history was born on October 13th, 1967, in the town of
Limonar (Cuba). His talent for high jump was discovered by the sports activist Carmelo Benitez. His ascension to glory was astonishing and it had a lot to do with the hard work of his first trainer Josť Godoy and later Guillermo de la Torre. He was barely 15 years old when he first flew over the 2-meter limit. At 16 he already jumped 2.33m !
World Records and Championships
His first absolute world record (2.43 m) was established in
Salamanca, Spain, on September 8th, 1988. The 2.44 m record was set the following year in San Juan, Puerto Rico, but in 1993 he would reach, again in Salamanca, the 2.45 m, a world record that remains still untouched. 

Notice: 2.45m is 2cm higher than the man senior volley-ball net and 1cm higher than the football goal height!

At the time of jumping the pressure on his left ankle is equivalent to 500 Kg!
 
He won the gold medal in Barcelona 1992 Olympic games, but it held special significance for Javier Sotomayor: Twice before he had been denied the opportunity of Olympic competition due to boycotts by the Cuban government. Firstly in 1984, after having set an age-16 world best of 2.33m, and then in 1988, less than three weeks after setting a new world record of 2.43m.

He was World champion in
Stuttgart 1993 and Athens 1997. His career was interrupted in 1995-1997 due to a serious problem in his knee.
End of Career
In 1999, he was suspended for two years due to a supposed cocaine consumption detected in an antidoping analysis during the Pan-american Games Winnipeg 1999. The international federation exceptionally reduced his suspension from two years to one and Sotomayor was able to compete in the 2000 Olympics in
Sydney. He quickly trained for three months and became the silver medalist of the tournament.

Cuban leader Fidel Castro personally defended Sotomayor as a hero of Cuba's socialist sports system and said he was the victim of bungled laboratory work. He is very popular in Cuba until now. The majority of Cubans have a mark of 2.45m in one wall of their houses.

Javier Sotomayor retired in 2001 at 34 years.
 

 

During his career, Javier Sotomayor succeeded:
192 jumps over 2.30 m 
80 jumps over 2.35 m 
21 jumps over 2,40 m! (Notice: no one jumped over 2.40m since 2000).
Javier Sotomayor Now
'Asked about beating his 2.45m world record he said 'Some day they will. It's a law of life. But there is nobody threatening the record at the moment,'

'What I miss most is competing, and even more when I see today's marks,' he said. 

But Sotomayor's record is never far away from him. The number plate of his Mercedes C-180, a prize for his gold medal at the 1993 world championships in
Stuttgart, ends in the digits 245 !!!
Links
High-Jump forum (French): http://www.hi-jump.org/forum/

High-Jump Videos: http://jump.and.feel.free.fr/

2 Javier Sotomayor Videos: http://highjump.wz.cz/index.php?open=video