July 23, 2010 -- Masters record holder Bruce McBarnette and former world triple jump record holder Willie Banks staged a fascinating competition in the M50 high jump, demonstrating that contrasting to popular belief, there is still more than one way to clear a bar.
Banks and McBarnette were the final two contestants remaining in the competition when the bar was raised to 1.89m/6-2.25. Banks had two misses before slipping into the pit on his final attempt, which forced him out of the competition in second place after previously clearing 1.86m/6-1.25. Banks watched as McBarnette cleared that height on his second attempt in winning his 23rd-career U.S. title.
The most interesting part of the competition was the contrasting styles of the two competitors. Banks, a National Track & Field Hall of Famer for his prowess in the triple jump, uses a three-step run-up and jumps using the outdated straddle style, while McBarnette jumps with the modern day Fosbury Flop, with an extended run-up of 81 feet, 7 inches.
McBarnette, who is an 8-time world masters champion, showed his appreciation for Banks following the competition. "You don't see many people who are using the straddle, and you certainly don't see anybody using it with that amount of proficiency," said McBarnette. "It takes a tremendous amount of strength to do what Willie is doing and it's a testament to him as an athlete that despite using an antiquated technique he still is able to perform so very, very well."
McBarnette, who owns the listed M50 AR of 1.93m/6-4, took three unsuccessful attempts at 1.95m/6-4.75, but was still pleased with his effort. "Anytime you jump high enough to take a crack at the American record, that's a good day," he said. "I'm particularly pleased because I'm recovering from plantar fasciitis and I really didn't know how it would hold up today, but I was able to perform well and I'm grateful for that."
For more information on the 2010 USA Masters Outdoor Championships, including the complete results, visit: www.usatf.org.