I’d like to be a track star. How cool would it be to stand before a roaring crowd that has stood to its feet because I set a new record in high jump! And I could do it, you know—if the record for high jump stood at two feet. Unfortunately for me, the record is almost 2.5 meters—well over seven feet. Well, what if I get in a track meet with Senior Citizens—surely, a man in his mid-forties ought to come out well then, you would think. But, sure enough, if I were to enter a Mastertrack competition—designed for men 40 and over, I would wind up competing against someone like Phil Fehlen. Never heard of Fehlen? Well, he witnessed history—he was there in 1956, Phil to witness the first 7-foot high jump, by Charlie Dumas. Forty-two years later, Phil made history himself: a world M60 high jump record of 1.72 (5-7 3/4). And he did it on the Fourth of July, only a day after his 63rd birthday. How good was his jump of 5’7" 3/4? How good was the jump? The Age-Graded Tables at Mastertrack.com show that 1.72 meters at age 63 is equivalent to an open mark of 2.48 -- 8-1 1/2! (MasterTrack.com—accessed through Ask Jeeves)
And that’s the problem with me being a high jump star—the bar is too high—I can’t jump five feet much less seven. The standard is just too high.