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  • Bare foot HJer

    Check out the Life Magazine photo here.

    http://tinyurl.com/78cm6p

    Can anyone give some insight into this picture? This jumper uses only one shoe and is clasping both hands. Both seem odd to me (the non-expert).

  • #2
    Back in the pre-Flop days, when many if not most Straddlers did not utilize a fast approach, it was not a bit unusual to see a fair number of HJ'ers with a bare outside, or kick-up, foot.

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    • #3
      The high jumper is Herm Wyatt from the 1955 Pan-Am Games in Mexico City.

      I've seen a good number of jumpers jump with the lead foot shoeless, but I've not seen the hands clasped.

      My guess is his coach (Bud Winter?, Wyatt had gone to SJ State) found that he had a lazy arm and was sometimes carelessly knocking off the bar with a hand. Clasping the hands would help get them out of the way during the clearance.

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      • #4
        Ditto hjsteve about one barefoot. Lots of us who jumped pre-fosbury used only one shoe. I did so until shifting to a more straight-leg rather than bent leg style. A few times dragging a bare big toe on the take off apron made wearing two shoes very appealing.

        I'm also thinking that Herm Wyatt was a western-roller rather than a straddler
        (is that right?)and his hand/arm position shown in the pic tends to minimize shoulder width on clearance ( a plus when the clearance is side-ways to the bar ).

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        • #5
          Bud Winter used drawings of Herm Wyatt to illustrate the Western Roll in his book "So You want to be a High Jumper". But no clasped hands in those drawings.

          In Wyatt's position in the Life picture the hands would normally not be too far from each other anyway so dj's idea makes sense I think. Sure one shoe was quite common in those days, even I did it.

          In Norway the leading jumper of the early 50's was called "Bjørn Barefoot" yes, no shoes at all. He placed 8th in the '52 OG

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          • #6
            Barefoot Bjorn: OUCH!!!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jhc68
              Ditto hjsteve about one barefoot. Lots of us who jumped pre-fosbury used only one shoe. I did so until shifting to a more straight-leg rather than bent leg style. A few times dragging a bare big toe on the take off apron made wearing two shoes very appealing.

              I'm also thinking that Herm Wyatt was a western-roller rather than a straddler
              (is that right?)and his hand/arm position shown in the pic tends to minimize shoulder width on clearance ( a plus when the clearance is side-ways to the bar ).
              Please don't think I'm stupid, but on this I am. Could you please explain the difference to me between the western roll and the straddle? I've never quite understood this.

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              • #8
                Similar techniques. The jumper approaches the bar from an angle, plants with the foot closest to the bar and swings the other leg upward.

                In a Western Roll, the jumper clears the bar with his/her body sideways to the bar
                (see http://images.google.com/hosted/life/l? ... n%26sa%3DN
                or
                http://images.google.com/hosted/life/l? ... %26hl%3Den

                And in the Straddle roll the jumper clears the bar with his/her belly to the bar (see http://images.google.com/hosted/life/l? ... %26hl%3Den
                or
                http://images.google.com/hosted/life/l? ... n%26sa%3DN

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                • #9
                  Right. The straddle was a far more efficient style than the western roll. You'd think that there would be something like a 3 or 4 inch advantage, all other things being equal...

                  I don't know for sure, but I'd guess that the western roll was "the" style of its day in part because it made it easier for jumpers to land on their feet after clearing the bar. Straddle jumpers definitely land on their sides--which wasn't a very attractive option when the "pit" was nothing but a little pile of sand or sawdust. In the first half of the 20th century, I suspect that most jumpers reflexively tried to land on their feet on the other side of the bar...

                  Calling all experts: does this sound right?

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                  • #10
                    One of the high jumpers in the Berlin Olympics did a Western Roll that morphed into a straddle right near the end, when he sort orturned his stomach back toward the bar in a modified straddle.

                    I wonder if he was the first to modify the Western Roll and lead into the straddle?

                    I saw it last week after I received the video of the 36 Games.
                    "Who's Kidding Who?"

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                    • #11
                      Geoff Nelson (aka Bauchwalzer) knows more than anyone about the evolution of the straddle. He needs to weigh in here about who and when the first straddling occured. Horine set the first WR with the Western Roll, as opposed to the Eastern Cut-off (a modified scissors technique) in 1912 at an astounding 6' 7".

                      Straddlers used to land on their sides and backs in sawdust all the time, and Brumel set indoor WR's landing in sand. But the Western roll did provide more self-defense in landing on one's feet and hands.

                      Also, rules used to reinforce common sense regarding high jump technique... at one time rules mandated that high jumpers land on their feet and that jumpers could not cross the bar with the head leading the body. Thus Babe Didrikson's DQ at the 1932 OG's.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mrbowie
                        One of the high jumpers in the Berlin Olympics did a Western Roll that morphed into a straddle right near the end, when he sort orturned his stomach back toward the bar in a modified straddle.

                        I wonder if he was the first to modify the Western Roll and lead into the straddle?

                        I saw it last week after I received the video of the 36 Games.
                        Sure, that was Dave Albritton. He was definitely the first straddler to hold a WR.

                        One plus with the Western Roll was that it was easier to obtain vertical force in the take-off than with the straddle which invited to often severe diving, especially at lower heights. The Roll was also very easy to learn.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jhc68
                          Geoff Nelson (aka Bauchwalzer) knows more than anyone about the evolution of the straddle. He needs to weigh in here about who and when the first straddling occured. Horine set the first WR with the Western Roll, as opposed to the Eastern Cut-off (a modified scissors technique) in 1912 at an astounding 6' 7".

                          Straddlers used to land on their sides and backs in sawdust all the time, and Brumel set indoor WR's landing in sand. But the Western roll did provide more self-defense in landing on one's feet and hands.

                          Also, rules used to reinforce common sense regarding high jump technique... at one time rules mandated that high jumpers land on their feet and that jumpers could not cross the bar with the head leading the body. Thus Babe Didrikson's DQ at the 1932 OG's.
                          I think it is difficult to pinpoint exactly the very first straddler since the technique evolved naturally from the roll. Ken Doherty mentions Jim Stewart USC as an early straddler of note, 6' 6" in 1930.
                          Anyway, thanks for posting the McGrew picture and the other rolller who must be Ernie Shelton who sometimes used the roll on lower heights (like Steers)

                          Trivia: Who won the most Olympic gold medals, straddlers or rollers?

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                          • #14
                            I'll guess that the only straddlers were Dumas, Shavlakadze, Brumel, and Tarmak, with all the pre-56'ers being Western Rollers or scissors, and for sure, every one since Tarmak has been a Flopper( plus 68Fos ). So the western rollers probably beat the Straddlers in #'s.

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                            • #15
                              Add Steers (did he ever have an official WR?)

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