Bohdan Bondarenko, photo by PhotoRun.net
The high jump is a classic athletic event. It is, like the triple jump, an event that can do much damage to the athlete. As the jumpers soar for the starts, their backs, hamstrings, achilles, among other body parts, remind, sometimes not so gently, that, alas, they are only human.
Bohdan Bondarenko gets that! In the recent press conference in New York, which preceded his masterful jumping with compatriot Mutasz Barshim, Bohdan said, in all honesty, ” I have just two legs.”
Bondarenko keeps the attempts to a minimum. He comes in at heights that scare the heck out of his competitors, but he knows his body, his limits and what he is trying to do.
In Moscow, Bondarenko entertained his Ukrainian countrymen with his gold medal and attempts at 2.46 meters.
In New York, Barshim and Bohdan had what one might call, a magical moment. Barshim cleared 2.42 meters, and then, four minutes later, Bohdan Bondarenko made that quick run, that turns into a violent move to go vertical, and like a flash, Bondarenko is over the bar! Two meters, and 42 centimeters!
Bohdan after his Lausanne victory, photo by PhotoRun.net
In Lausanne, Bondarenko won at 2.40 meters, with his fellow Ukrainian, Andrey Protsenko, who was over the bar at 2.40 meters as well.
The point was made in New York on June 13, by Erik Kynard, that several men could break the world record. I am not so sure. I look at Barshim Mutasz, Ivan Ukhov and Bohdan Bondarenko and wonder, to myself, these guys are physical geniuses at their discipline. Just how many people like this are there in the world?
There was painter named Max Ernst. He was part artist, part anarchist, part bon vivant. Ernst believed that everyone had talent, and that anyone could make art. Not great art, but art. He would prove his assertion by making colorings on paper of random products underneath the paper, and then, finish the piece with his own unique style. While I appreciated Mr. Ernst assertions, I always felt that his amazing creativity and joy in creating showed just the opposite his Dadaist ways: artists, in any discipline, are unusual. They are the perfect storm of physical and spiritual ability. They ask the questions and take the challenges most of us only dream of, that is why we look at a Picasso and can’t catch our breath, or see Bohdan Bondarenko clear some lofty height and gasp.
Bohdan Bondarenko is on to something. He only has so many jumps, and he has a great height, say 2.46 meters, 2.47 meters, or, dare we say, 2.48 meters to go before he sleeps!
Now, his, ” I have only two feet.” makes even more sense.
And, tomorrow, in Monte Carlo, with one of the best, if not the best assembled high jump field for men of the year, we may see just how high Mr. Bondarenko or his friends in the eight foot society can soar!