Great Britain & N.I.

Steve Smith - Great Britain & N.I. - Biography of International high jump career.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 22 August 1993

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      Thursday, 29 March 1973
      Liverpool, England
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Steve SMITH - Great Britain & N.I. - Biography of International high jump career.

Steve Smith celebrates his high jump clearance for Great Britain and with it a bronze medal 

at 1993 World Championships. The photo shows how high above his head Steve had to leap.


Steve Smith had already established himself as an outstanding high jumper in junior competition before advancing to a successful career in the senior ranks. In Steve's first major success, he set a personal best of 2.29m when he won the gold medal at the European Junior Championships in Thessalonki on 9 August 1991. He improved this to 2.31m the following year when he won his first AAA title at Birmingham on 28 June. In August that year he competed at his first Olympic Games in Barcelona where he finished in 12th place with a height of 2.24m.


Steve's most spectacular performance in 1992 was at the World Junior Championships in Seoul on 20 September. Smith missed his first two attempts at 2.31m in Seoul, but when Tim Forsyth (Australia) cleared this height on his second attempt, Smith decided to take his last attempt at a new personal best of 2.33m. Not only did he clear 2.33m, but he also went on to clear new personal bests of firstly 2.35m, and finally 2.37m to easily win the gold medal. His 2.37m clearance not only set a new Commonwealth record, but also equalled the world junior record, and was the highest outdoor jump achieved in 1992. In his first season in senior competition, Smith won the bronze medal at the World Indoor Championships in Toronto on 14 March with another 2.37m clearance.


At the World Championships held later that year in Stuttgart, Smith put himself right in contention when he cleared 2.37m on his first attempt (see photo above) to equal his Commonwealth record. However, both Javier Sotomayor (Cuba) and Artur Partyka (Poland) also cleared that height on their first attempts. Only Sotomayor could jump higher, while Smith finished with the bronze medal, as he had three previous failures compared with only two for Partyka. (Ron Casey).




The photograph of high jumper Steve Smith was taken at the 1995 World Championships by George Herringshaw.  ©


                                               Silvers medals  at European Champs & Commonwealth Games.


Having won the world junior high jump title in 1992, Steve Smith made quite a successful debut in senior competition during 1993, winning bronze medals at both the World Indoor Championships in Toronto and World Championships in Budapest. On 4 February 1994, and still over a month before his 21st birthday, Smith set his career best height, either indoors or out, of 2.38m when he finished second behind world record holder Javier Sotomayor (Cuba) at an indoor meet in Wuppertal. However, Smith struggled in the early part of the 1994 outdoor season, and his season's best prior to the European Championships in Helsinki on 9 August was only 2.28m. Despite this lack of form, Smith once again demonstrated his ability to perform when it counted, by jumping 2.33m to share the silver medal with Artur Partyk (Poland).


Smith's two other major international meetings that year involved encounters with Australian Tim Forsyth who Steve had beaten at the 1992 World Junior Championships. At the Commonwealth Games in Victoria on 26 August, Smith and Forsyth initially tied for first place at 2.32m after both had missed all three attempts at 2.34m. After they both failed a fourth attempt at 2.34m, the bar reverted to 2.32m, where they both cleared. They then both missed again when the bar was reset at 2.34m, but when it again reverted to 2.32m, Forsyth cleared to win the gold medal, while Smith's failure earned him the silver. At the World Cup in London on 11 September, Smith won the bronze medal and Forsyth the silver, with both of them clearing a best height of 2.28m behind gold medallist Sotomayor. At the 1995 World Championships in Gothenburg on 8 August, Steve finished equal fourth with a best jump of 2.35m (see photo above). (Ron Casey).


Photo George Herringshaw.  ©

                                             Olympic Games bronze medal in Atlanta.


 Steve Smith was only 23 years of age when he contested his second Olympic high jump final at Atlanta on 28 July 1996. Smith was still a junior when he had competed at the previous Olympics in Barcelona where he finished in 12th position. During the intervening years he had won a bronze medal at the 1993 World Championships, and silver medals at both the European Championships and Commonwealth Games in 1994. The only major medal he was missing was one from the Olympics, a situation which he sought to rectify at Atlanta. Steve accomplished this feat when he (see photo above) was one of three jumpers at Atlanta who cleared 2.35m. However, the other two had cleared on their first attempts, while Steve had required two, placing him in third position at that stage. Smith missed his first two attempts at the next height of 2.37m, and he recorded another failure when he elected to take his final try at 2.39m, leaving him with the bronze medal.


Despite a good start to the 1997 indoor season, with a best height of 2.34m at Birmingham on 23 February, Smith was only able to finish equal sixth, with a clearance of 2.25m, at the World Indoor Championships at Paris on 9 March. Unfortunately, his outdoor season was even less successful, as he managed to exceed 2.30m only once, and he failed to qualify for the final of the World Championships in Athens when he could jump no higher than 2.26m. Steve's 1998 season was prematurely curtailed due to a serious neck injury, and although he recovered in 1999 to win his fourth AAA title, he failed to record a height at that year's World Championships in Seville, in the last major international championships appearance of his career. (Ron Casey).





1999    2.36    Gateshead    27 JUN
1998    2.30    Athína    17 JUN
1997    2.31    Sheffield    29 JUN
1996    2.35    Atlanta     28 JUL
1995    2.35    Göteborg     08 AUG
1994    2.33    Helsinki    09 AUG
1993    2.37    Stuttgart  22 AUG (= personal best)
1992    2.37    Seoul    20 SEP (personal best)

1991    2.29    Thessaloníki    09 AUG
1990    2.25    Gateshead    17 AUG