# Why is Olympic high jump measured in feet/inches?

Last night I was watching the Olympic coverage on NBC and was surprised when they were showing the mens’ high jump. They consistently referred to the height of the bar in feet and inches (7 feet, 8 and 3/4 inches I think was the winning height). Since everything else at the Olympics is measured in meters, this surprised me.

Is the high jump really judged in feet/inches, or were the commentators translating for the American audience?

Some records started on in feet/inches, and they remain for comparison’s sake.

Long jump…

Triple jump…

Translated.

I watched the CBC (Canadian) broadcast and it was reported in Metric. Also, the athletes mentioned it in Metric.

No, it is definitely measured in metric on the coverage we receive in the UK.

2.38, 2.41, 2.44, whatever…

Huh? The IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) has always kept and measured all records in metric units (They are based in Monaco after all). I think this is just a case of converting to feet and inches for the metrically impaired.

Wow, i just found out the president of the IAAF (Lamine Diack) has fifteen children! I guess he has no time for hobbies.

Yeah, but how many kids would that be in the metric system?

Such as Americans. The American coverage on NBC converts from the actual metric results to feet and inches so that we (as an audience) can understand the distances and compare with the records set in our youth. (Well, not personally.) It was especially clear over the weekend during the triple jump. The boarding the background had the numbers 16 and 17 on it, meters (or metres for our furrin friends ) of distance, but feet and inches were continually given by the TV coverage.

[hijack]Mycroft, sorry about stealing (or reusing) most of your name. I hope you don’t mind sharing with an avid Sherlockian. If you do, let me know and I’ll change.[/hijack]

5.905511811023622047244094488189 if my calculations are correct.

Actually, in my case the name is Heinleinian. He used the name of Sherlock’s brother for the sentient computer in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, which is my favorite Heinlein book. I don’t think there’s any need to change your name.

Or simply, 1.5 decakids.

Just for the record, the World Record for the men’s high jump is 2.45m and the Olympic record is 2.39m

It is definately measured in metric. The American silver medalist is quoted in today’s paper as such: “I had been thinking all day that I would pass on 2.29 (meters - 7 feet, 6 inches) to save my legs and put the pressure on Holm,” he said. “I did do that.”.

BTW he (Matt Hemingway) is a close descendant of Ernest.

This drove me nuts since they refused to even give the metric amounts in parentheses or something.

According to Bob and Doug MacKenzie, all metric conversions come down to “Double it and add 30.” So that would be 60 metric children.

Unless the site was already in metric, which would mean he had negative 7 and a half Imperial offspring (I believe kids is one of the measuring systems in which the American and Imperial systems coincide, and Imperial was probably the system being converted from in The Great White North.)

This sort of result is illustrates my usual point about the metric system in the U.S.–We have no real trouble with either system, but trouble crops up when people are forced to convert between them. Some brave government agency should just make the change and never refer to ‘English’ units again. People would only be confused for a couple of weeks, then forget about the problem entirely.

When Bob Beamon set his world record in the long jump in Mexico City in 1968, the scoreboard flashed “8.90” to list the distance metrically. I think he was able to figure out that he had gone a long way.

Mike Powell has since stretched the record to 8.95 meters.

Now if someone can jump 9 meters, that will be something to see.