Gothenburg, SwedenIt may not have been an official competition, but the stakes were certainly high with bragging rights on the line for Swedish Hogh Jump legends Stefan Holm and Patrik Sjöberg.
And it was Holm, the 2004 Olympic champion with 130 2.30m clearances under his belt who prevailed over Sjöberg, the former World champion and World record holder at the annual Auto Lounge Comeback competition, a charity event for a Children’s Cancer Fund held in Gothenburg on Saturday (20).
But there was a unique rule imposed upon the two leading stars in the nationally-televised event: due to a knee injury suffered by Sjöberg, the pair agreed to compete from the “wrong side” taking off with the “wrong leg”.
Holm, who retired in 2008, took top honours in this head-to-head, clearing 1.80m to Sjöberg’s 1.54m. Holm then continued with his “right leg” and managed a 2.15m clearance to finish third overall behind recently-minted World indoor champion Ivan Ukhov, and 2007 World champion Donald Thomas, who each cleared 2.20m.
The evening was all about entertainment and high energy, and there was plenty of it. The field included famous Swedish boxers Louise Karlsson and Armand Krajnc, who each cleared 1.42m and golder Catrin Nilsmark, who topped out at 1.18m. When he wasn’t competing in his specialty, Thomas entertained the crowd and TV audience with a series of acrobatic basketball dunks.
Also among the starters was Swede Yannick Tregaro – fourth at 1.90m – who is better known in the athletics world as the coach of Christian Olsson, Linus Thörnblad and Emma Green.
Christian Skaar Thomassen (organisers) for the IAAF