Might as well JUMP

Ulrike Meyfarth

YouTube is great for taking trips down Nostalgia Lane. I stumbled upon one of my earliest sporting memories earlier this week: the women’s high jump final at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

I remember watching this on a Saturday in Newcastle (Australia) which means the event would have been held on a Friday evening in LA – and no, I don’t know whether I was watching a live broadcast or a replay. If someone happens to have a complete Track and Field schedule for the LA Games, feel free to let me know what the deal was.

Anyway, I forgot the name of the West German high jumper almost straight after watching the broadcast. I just remembered that she had curly blonde hair and had an eagle on her singlet. Some years later, I bought a book that reviewed the LA Games and had to ask my Dad how to pronounce Ulrike Meyfarth (is the surname really pronounced as MAY-fart?)

Sara Simeoni

I always, however, remembered the name of Sara Simeoni. I also remember that the Australian TV commentator pronounced her surname as Simeon for the whole competition. For years afterwards, I mistakenly thought that an ‘i’ at the end of an Italian surname was silent. That’ll teach me for trusting commentators on commercial television.

I did try Little Athletics when I was at school and wasn’t very good. I do wish, though, that the organisers had concentrated a lot more on encouraging us to beat our own personal bests rather than just trying to beat each other. I think I would have had a lot more fun that way. Being a tall, skinny kid, high jump was the first event that I got any kind of a handle on and I really enjoyed watching these two women showing how it was really done.

So, if you’ve got the time and the bandwidth, sit back and enjoy Ulrike Meyfarth v Sara Simeoni in the final of the women’s high jump at the 1984 Olympic Games as taken from the official film.

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