High Jump legends Balas and Kostadinova

High Jump legends Balas and Kostadinova

Monaco – Oct 13, 2012: To mark today’s public opening of the IAAF Centenary Historic Exhibition in the Museu Olímpic i de l’Esport Joan Antoni Samaranch, Barcelona, Spain, (Saturday 13 October to Sunday 25 November 2012), the IAAF is delighted to announce that High Jump legends Iolanda Balas (Romania) and Stefka Kostadinova (Bulgaria) are to be inducted into the IAAF Hall of Fame.

1960 and 1964 Olympic champion Iolanda Balas set the first of her 14 World records as a 19-year-old in the summer of 1956 when she cleared 1.75m.

In 1957, she began a winning streak of 140 competitions that was to last just over a decade despite an unsophisticated technique that was little more than a slightly modified ‘scissors’ jump.

In 1958, she cleared 1.83m and so became the first woman to clear the psychologically and historically significant barrier of six feet in imperial measurement.

In 1961, she improved her World record on four more occasions, culminating in a clearance of 1.91m in Sofia on 16 July, which was to remain unbeaten until 1971.

1987 and 1995 World and 1996 Olympic champion Stefka Kostadinova first came to international attention as a 19-year-old when she won at the 1985 IAAF World Indoor Games, the forerunner to the IAAF World Indoor Championships.

The following year she set two outdoor World records when she cleared 2.07m and then 2.08m within six days at the end of May at separate meetings in Sofia.

Those feats were topped by her performance at the 1987 IAAF World Championships where in a thrilling competition with former World record holder Tamara Bykova, she negotiated 2.09m on her second attempt, which remains the World record to this day.

In 1995, just a few months after the birth of her son Nikolay, she regained the World Championships title, and the following summer she won the Atlanta Olympic gold. At the 1997 World Indoor Championships, she won her fifth title at the event.

“I’m delighted that Iolanda Balas and Stefka Kostadinova, two such thrilling exponents of high jumping will be among the inaugural members of the IAAF Hall of Fame,” commented IAAF President Lamine Diack. “In a discipline which mixes raw power with graceful flight they left an indelible mark on our sports history. Iolanda’s decade long winning streak and Stefka’s current World record are the ultimate examples of their legendary status.”

Click here to read the full profiles of Kostadinova and Balas in the Hall of Fame Members’ section of the IAAF website –http://www.iaaf.org/mini/HOF/Members/Members.aspx – and to discover the other 22 inaugural members who have been announced.

To mark the IAAF Centenary, a total of 24 athletes will become inaugural Members of the IAAF Hall of Fame in 2012, with the Official Induction Ceremony taking place at the IAAF Centenary Gala in Barcelona, Spain on Saturday 24 November 2012. —- IAAF

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