That is what I was referring to in an earlier post about planning your landing in the old sand pits. The Avant style is more vertical than I am familiar with. In the old horizontal straddle, ideally, you landed on your lead foot and hand. You had to avoid rotating you body too far around the bar so you would not fall 6+ feet and land flat on your back .
One final comment re "sand box".... By 1961 sawdust was pretty much the rule on the HS level, and I would assume even more so at the collegiate and up level. Having said that was not the Rome OG pit sand ? CN's HJ article in the T&FN OG issue references "sand pit."
Only the older generation would remember actually doing this stuff, but, YES, in the (very) old days, it was common to be landing "on" one arm and (hopefully) one leg--that is, using those limbs to slightly break the collision with the sand or dirt pile (or as steve correctly points out, sawdust).
Seen in isolation his bar clearance is incredible. More extreme than any other dive-straddler I'm aware of. Even Bengt Nilsson did not come close to Avant's roll-over dive into the pit. But I think he sacrifices too much to attain his position over the bar. There is no lean back into the take-off compared to Brumel and Thomas/Dumas. He has to prepare his diving motion early. He is also leaning slightly inwards and does not get much out of his arm thrust. He does not get nearly as low as the top straddlers in his penultimate step.
However, he would have been a sensation had he appeared about 8 year earlier in the days of Shelton at USC. Or if he had jumped 10 cm higher in 1961. He must have been the 4th American over 7ft. No?
Y'all keep referring to the "sand pit", but as I posted earlier USC had pieces of sponge in net bags, plenty soft. I'm not saying their was no sand left anywhere, but shavings were much more common and there was plenty of sponge around. Many of us, incl. John Dobroth of Oxy were starting to roll all the way over to land on our backs; John and I were only jumping 6'2" or so, in Decathlon, but Avant jumped plenty high at Oxy and other SoCal venues where landing was not an issue.
Oxy Coach Chuck Coker installed a hard rubber (Neoprene?) slab for the HJ, about 30 inches or so deep, the width of the bar span that added at least a couple of inches for most jumpers--as I can testify, from the SPAAU Decathlon, 1960.
Similarly, Bowerman installed an Indoor-style LJ runway right up under the roof of Hayward Field for the 1960 US Oly Decathlon Trials, helping Mike Herman set the long-standing WR (mid-25s) that Ashton Eaton finally broke with his stunning 27 footer last year in the cool moist (but not yet raining) weather. That short-lived innovation was worth a good foot.
I finally got around to playing it. You need Quicktime to get it to work. It looks more frightening in the video than in the photos. And it is a sand box. Almost like the one we had when I was little. I couldn't imagine falling 7 feet head first into that.
Jackaloupe wrote:..... Similarly, Bowerman installed an Indoor-style LJ runway right up under the roof of Hayward Field for the 1960 US Oly Decathlon Trials, helping Mike Herman set the long-standing WR (mid-25s) that Ashton Eaton finally broke with his stunning 27 footer last year in the cool moist (but not yet raining) weather. That short-lived innovation was worth a good foot.
I don't know when it was first installed, but it wasn't short-lived. I know it was still there for the '62 NCAA (where the PV was also from an elevated runway), where all kinds of crazy PRs were set (including a Stanford school record that stood for a long time when Dan Moore improved by a foot).
There were quotes about the "trampoline" effect, so it was obviously a sprung runway, which is now specifically barred by the rules (at least for record purposes).
Below is a link that I have posted somewhere else here a while back, but the link URL has changed since then. Anyway, it is a video you have to download (follow the advice written on the link about which format to use) with a lot of great footage from the 1956 CA HS State Meet. At about the 4:30 mark on the video there begins quit a bit of HJ footage including Avant along with a wide variety of western roll and straddle styles typical of the times. It's sort of a HJ history timecapsule.
Random comments and questions: - Really old timey rules required a "feet first clearance" (as per Babe Didrickson's controversy when she was penalized at the 1932 OGs for "diving"), was the basis for that old rule to prevent injury from landing in sand pits?
- I'm thinking that Brumel set indoor WRs in the USSR landing in sand pits, and possibly outdoor marks into sand as well. Anyone know with certainty if that is the case?
- As Per notes, Avant clearly got very little lean back on take off and shows none of the traditional straddler settle or lowering center of gravity on penultimate step. But I am thinking that a lot of the necessity to lean back was to accomodate a long kick (often slow) action with the lead leg whereas Avant quickly tucked his lead knee up from a fast run. Did this hurt or help the physics of his particular style?
- Anyone remember Max Lowe, briefly one of the best American jumpers in the mid-1960's? Seems to me that he had style not too different from Avant but he didn't look so goofy because he had a left-foot take off rather than Avant's right footed plant.
She has had a world record of 1.66 meters in 1941 (equal to Odam and Brandt), but I can't find anything about this record missing on the internet. Is there some body who knows what it means and why this happened?
Well, compared to today's cushy, spongy landing pits, yes; but it was not all that "dangerous", as the technique made for a groundroll off the lead foot, not a "clump" on your back. I jumped a foot lower, but still HJ was not a problem; PV was much dicier. I still have a stiff lower back muscle on one side, form HS sand; and only 11 ft. at that.
Jack is right, not nearly as dangerous as you might think. I jumped in sawdust pits from 7th-12th grades and never saw anyone get seriously hurt. Of course no one would have been dumb enough to try a back layout technique even if we had thought about it. We did a lot of shoveling to keep the sawdust pile high and fluffed up... but the worst part was all that sawdust in every crease and wrinkle in your body that no amount of showering could ever quite remove. Best part was if the sawdust was piled between haybales that you could move around and jump from... if you made the haybale stacks staircase up just right you could clear 7 feet!
Heck, I still have a back injury that haunts me to this day from flopping on one of those UCS pits in junior high. Some "nice person" took the pad off the top and I landed right between the pits on concrete. Yes, concrete. We only used the high school track for our meets but during our training, asphalt and concrete was our daily lot in life.
Yikes! The scariest HJ situations I have seen are exactly as Dietmar describes: multi-part foam cube arrays that are meant to be held together with buckles and straps and a cover on top. Often the couplings break or the cover is ripped or gone completely or the pit is just plain too small. Then inexperienced jumpers launch themselves in trajectories that result in an off the pit landing or a bounce off the edge into whatever lies beyond or trapped between the loose cubes. Gimme a sawdust pile and a straddle technique anyday in terms of safety.
if you made the haybale stacks staircase up just right you could clear 7 feet!
Good one, 'jhc': You're memories coincide with my own. One day at USC--maybe Bobby Avant even partook--we hauled over some Ramp someone had out there for some purpose, just to experiment: The leverage it provided was considerably more than it's height, ~6 inches. So, yeah, we were approaching what seemed stratospheric, aka Bobby Avant's & Charley Dumas's normal heights. That was right before that Russian introduced the built-up, Rocker shoe--which was promptly outlawed. Bet you'll get a kick out of this one: At Masters Meets, I occasionally take a break from Throws and head over to the HJ. After first dealing w/ the dilemma of wearing or doffing my glasses--which I once broke upon landing--I try to ignore the ridiculously high (for us) landing pit: it's most strange to be in the middle of your modest roll around the (quite low, ~4 ft.) bar, only to encounter the immense plastic spongemats, hardly a "pit".
Tony Sneazwell training at what could be the University of Melbourne track where Franz Stampfl was his coach. If it's not there, it was somewhere in inner Melbourne, given the architectural exemplar in the background. Perhaps AS would know for sure?
Tony was the first Australian to clear 7 feet in 1963 and later that year, upped his national record to 2.20 (7'2")in Tokyo. Unfortunately, he never jumped well in either the '64 or '68 Olympics.