Rio Olympics: World records vs 2016 world leading performances, field events

By Antoinette Muller 31 July 2016

In third instalment of this series, we wrap up the best performances for field events during the 2016 season and how they compare with the current world and Olympic records and see where South Africa’s field athletes rank. Spoiler alert: don’t expect too many records to be broken on the field events in 2016. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.

The field events have some of the longest-standing Olympic and World records of all sports at the Olympics and in some events, it’s hard to see the world records ever being beaten. Even as sports science continues to improve with athletes training better than ever, there are a number of records that modern-day athletes just can’t get close to.

Most impressive of the lot is perhaps Bob Beamon’s long jump at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. The leap of 8.90 meters is no longer a world record (that was bettered in 1991 by Mike Powell at 8.95), but his Olympic record still remains to this day and no-one in 2016 has even come close, so it is likely to remain for at least another four years.

The triple jump world and Olympic record for the men’s event has been standing for two decades and while some jumps have gotten a bit closer, no one has broken the 18m barrier in 2016.

The men’s shot put record has also been standing for a good 20 years and the best distances from 2016 haven’t come close to knocking the world or Olympic records off their perch. The men’s discus world record is another event with a record that no-one can get close to. Set by Jürgen Schult in 1986, the current world best is almost 6 meters shorter than his best throw.

The list of these seemingly untouchable records go on, but not all hope is lost. In a few events athletes have come within touching distance of a number of field records in the 2016-season in both the men and women’s events.  Here follows a list of the events with their world and Olympic records as well as the best performances from both men and women in the 2016 season.

High jump:

World record: 2.45 set in 1993 (men) , 2.09 set in 1987 (women)
Olympic record:
2.39 set in 1996 (men), 2.06 set in 2004 (women)
Best for 2016: 2.40 (men) and 2.01 (women)

South Africa has no competitor in this event.

Long jump:

World record: 8.95 set in 1991 (men), 7.52 set in 1988 (women)
Olympic record:
8.90 set in 1968 (men), 7.40 set in 1988 (women)
Best for 2016:
8.58 (men), 7.31 (women)

Stefan Brits (8.22, ranked joint 15th) and Luvo Manyonga (ranked joint 17th) have their work cut out for them in this event. However, Rushwahl Samaai managed two distances in the top five (8.38 and 8.34) and could just be a surprise contender for a medal.

Pole vault:

World record: 6.16 set in 2014 (men), 5.06 set in 2009 (women)
Olympic record:
5.97 set in 2012 (men), 5.05 set in 2008 (women)
Best for 2016:
5.96 (men), 4.93 (women)

South Africa has no competitor in this event.

Triple jump:

World record: 18.29 set in 1995 (men), 15.50 set in 1995 (women)
Olympic record:
18.09 set in 1996 (men), 15.39 set in 2008 (women)
Best for 2016:
17.78 (men), 15.04 (women)

Godfrey Khotso Mokoena’s distance of 16.77 placed him 45th best for the 2016 season and might not be good enough to get him out of the qualifying rounds.

Shot put:

World record: 23.12 set in 1990 (men), 22.63 set in 1987 (women)
Olympic record:
22.47 set in 1988 (men), 22.41 set in 1980 (women)
Best for 2016:
22.13 (men), 20.43 (women)

South Africa has no competitor in this event.

Discus throw:

World record: 74.08 set in 1986 (men), 76.80 set in 1988 (women)
Olympic record:
69.89 set in 2004 (men), 72.30 set in 1988 (women)
Best for 2016:
68.15 (men), 70.88 (women)

South Africa has no competitor in this event.

Hammer throw:

World record: 86.74 set in 1986 (men), 81.08 set in 2015 (women)
Olympic record:
84.80 in 1988 (men), 78.18 set in 2012 (women)
Best for 2016:
81.87 (men), 80.26 (women)

South Africa has no competitor in this event.

Javelin throw:

World record: 98.48 set in 1996 (men), 72.28 set in 2008 (women)
Olympic record:
90.57 set in 2008 (men), 71.53 set in 2004 (women)
Best for 2016:
91.28 (men), 66.87 (women)

Sunette Viljoen’s best distance of 65.14m put her at sixth best in the 2016 season, but she will have to dig deep if she is going to win a medal. Rocco van Rooyen’s last throw was in 2015 and it came in at  85.39, quite some way off the distance to even qualify for finals. DM

Photo: Javelin throw world record holder Jan Zelezny from the Czech Republic. EPA/Fabrice Coffrini

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