Spikes17 Feb 2015

Javier Fantastico


Javier Sotomayor

Ato Boldon speaks to high jump world record holder Javier Sotomayor for IAAF Inside Athletics. The Cuban legend talks exclusively about the incredible standard in his event right now and why modern athletics needs athletes with the staying power to dominate their event.

Javier Sotomayor didn’t expect his high jump world record to remain unbroken for as long as it has. But reflecting on last season, when for the first time in 20 years a group of athletes began to close in on his 2.45m record, he admits he began to feel a twinge of nerves.

“I really enjoyed following the high jump [in 2014]. With a little bit of nervousness, though.

“There have been five athletes over 2.40m [in 2014] and two of them very close to the world record. I believe it has been a year of great expectation, not just for me but for all the high jump fans!”

As the indoor and outdoor record holder, a multiple indoor and outdoor world champion, owner of an Olympic title and probably the coolest dude ever, Sotomayor enjoys legend status back in his homeland of Cuba.

He uses his position to encourage the next generation of Cubans to stay active; not just through athletics, but any sport kids have a passion for or interest in. He believes Cuban athletics needs more characters with staying power, something that he feels the wider athletics community could benefit from, too.

“I think what Cuban athletics lacks is the same as what athletics misses elsewhere in the world. We have athletes who do very well very young and then they disappear.

“I don’t think it’s a problem of training because we have an excellent programme, but more a problem of mental focus.”

He also talks about competing during one of track and field’s heydays and how he wishes he’d jumped just one centimetre higher.

Watch the full 8-minute IAAF Inside Athletics interview below: