It has been quite some month in terms of world records being broken, but what are likely to be the safest global marks in the near future?
The records of Sergey Bubka were among the “impregnables” of track and field, yet a new era was brought in this month when France’s Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie pole vaulted 6.16m in Donetsk.
His record-breaking achievement came on the same day that Genzebe Dibaba broke the world indoor two mile world best in Birmingham, the Ethiopian having also set world indoor records over 1500m and 3000m earlier in the month. As if that wasn’t enough, the following day Kenya’s Florence Kiplagat sped to a world half-marathon record in Barcelona.
This got us thinking about the ‘unbeatable’ world records.
For example, Bubka’s marks of 6.15m indoors and 6.14m outdoors had seemed unapproachable to a generation of pole vaulters. Before Lavillenie, Steve Hooker had been the only other man to jump higher than 6.05m.
World-renowned statistician Peter Matthews, editor of Athletics International, put the performance into context by saying: “We are in an age when world records fall but rarely and we should savour those that are set. Many records are lasting far longer than they ever have before, and we have several from the 1980s that could well last for many more years.
“Some will surely last my lifetime, and I might have put Bubka’s in that category, but perhaps not as much as Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s heptathlon, Marita Koch’s 400m or Jürgen Schult’s discus to quote just three. I say that in particular because, although with a lot of height to add, first Steve Hooker and recently, most particularly, Lavillenie have shown the sort of form that made attacking 6.14m and 6.15m a possibility.”
Bubka’s world indoor record had long been considered one of the least assailable men’s records, but here AW ranks what it thinks are the top ten safest global marks in the near future in Olympic disciplines. Percentage against best marks of this decade shown.
1 Women’s 400m 47.60 Marita Koch 1985 3.3%
2 Women’s discus 76.80m Gabriele Rensch 1988 11.1
3 Women’s shot 22.63m Natalya Lisovskaya 1987 6.5
4 Women’s heptathlon 7291 Jackie Joyner-Kersee 1988 4.8
5 Men’s javelin 98.48m Jan Zelezny 1996 8.7
6 Women’s 100m 10.49 F Griffith-Joyner 1988 2.0
7 Women’s 200m 21.34 F Griffith-Joyner 1988 1.6
8 Women’s long jump 7.52m Galina Chistiakova 1988 3.7
9 Women’s 1500m 3:50.46 Yunxia Qu 1993 2.5
10 Men’s long jump 8.95m Mike Powell 1991 4.6