JUMPING, 1 a branch of athletics which has been cultivated from the earliest times (see ATHLETIC SPORTS). Leaping competitions formed a part of the pentathlon, or quintuple games, of the Olympian festivals, and Greek chronicles record that the athlete Phayllus jumped a distance of 55 Olympian, or more than 30 English, feet. Such a leap could not have been made without weights carried in the hands and thrown backwards at the moment of springing. These were in fact employed by Greek jumpers and were called halteres. They were masses of stone or metal, nearly semicircular, according to Pausanias, and the fingers grasped them like the handles of a shield. Halteres were also used for general exercise, like modern dumb-bells. The Olympian jumping took place to the music of lutes.
Jumping has always been popular with British athletes, and tradition has handed down the record of certain leaps that border on the incredible. Two forms of jumping are included in modern athletic contests, the running long jump and the running high jump; but the same jumps, made from a standing position, are also common forms of competition, as well as the hop step and jump, two hops and jump, two jumps, three jumps, five jumps and ten jumps, either with a run or from a standing position. These events are again divided into two categories by the use of weights, which are not allowed in championship contests.
1 The verb " to jump " only dates from the beginning of the 16th century. The New English Dictionary takes it to be of onomatopoeic origin and does not consider a connexion with Dan. gumpe, Icel. goppa, etc., possible. The earlier English word is " leap " (O.K. USapan, to run, jump, cf. Ger. laufen).
In the running long jump anything over 18 ft. was once considered good, while Peter O'Connor's world's record (1901) is 24 ft. i if in. The jump is made, after a short fast run on a cinder path, from a joist sunk into the ground flush with the path, the jumper landing in a pit filled with loose earth, its level a few inches below that of the path. The joist, called the " take-off," is painted white, and all jumps are measured from its edge to the nearest mark made by any part of the jumper's person in landing.
In the standing long jump, well spiked shoes should be worn, for it is in reality nothing but a push against the ground, and a perfect purchase is of the greatest importance. Weights held in the hands of course greatly aid the jumper. Without weights J. Darby (professional) jumped 12 ft. ij in. and R. C. Ewry (American amateur) 1 1 ft. 4! in. With weights J. Darby covered 14 ft. 9 in. at Liverpool in 1890, while the amateur record is 12 ft. 9^ in., made by J. Chandler and G. L. Hellwig (U.S.A.). The standing two, three, five and ten jumps are merely repetitions of the single jump, care being taken to land with the proper balance to begin the next leap. The record for two jumps without weights is 22ft. 2 in., made by H. M. Johnson (U.S.A.); for three jumps without weights, R. C. Ewry, 35 ft. 7i in.; with weights J. Darby, 41 ft. 7 in.
The hop step and jump is popular in Ireland and often included in the programmes of minor meetings, and so is the two hops and a jump. The record for the first, made by W. McManus, is 49 ft. 25 in. with a run and without weights; for the latter, also with a run and without weights, 49 ft. J in., made by J. B. Conolly.
In the running high jump also the standard has improved. In 1864 a jump of 5 ft. 6 in. was considered excellent. The Scotch professional Donald Dinnie, on hearing that M. J. Brooks of Oxford had jumped 6 ft. 25 in. in 1876, wrote to the newspapers to show that upon a priori grounds such an achievement was impossible. Since then many jumpers who can clear over 6 ft. have appeared. In 1895 M. F. Sweeney of New York accomplished a jump of 6 ft. 5$ in. Ireland has produced many firstclass high jumpers, nearly all tall men, P. Leahy winning the British amateur record in Dublin in 1898 with a jump of 6 ft. 4! in. The American A. Bird Page, however, although only S ft. 6$ in. in height, jumped 6 ft. 4 in. High jumping is done over a light staff or lath resting upon pins fixed in two uprights upon which a scale is marked. The " take-off," or ground immediately in front of the uprights from which the spring is made, is usually grass in Great Britain and cinders in America. Some jumpers run straight at the bar and clear it with body facing forward, the knees being drawn up almost to the chin as the body clears the bar; others run and spring sideways, the feet being thrown upwards and over the bar first, to act as a kind of lever in getting the body over. There should be a shallow pit of loose earth or a mattress to break the fall.
The standing high jump is rarely seen in regular athletic meetings. The jumper stands sideways to the bar with his arms extended upwards. He then swings his arms down slowly, bending his knees at the same time, and, giving his arms a violent upward swing, springs from the ground. As the body rises the arms are brought down, one leg is thrown over the bar, and the other pulled, almost jerked, after it. The record for the standing high jump without weights is 6 ft., by J. Darby in 1892.
By the use of a spring-board many extraordinary jumps have been made, but this kind of leaping is done only by circus gymnasts and is not recognized by athletic authorities.
For pole-jumping see POLE-VAULTING.
See Encyclopaedia of Sport-.U.'W. Ford, "Running High Jump," Outing, vol. xviii. ; Running Broad Tump," Outing, vol. xix. ; " Standing Jumping," Outing, vol. xix.; Miscellaneous Jumping," Outing,vol. xx. Also Sporting and Athletic Register (annual).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)