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Steve Smith (British high jumper)


Steve Smith (British high jumper)

Steve Smith
Personal information
Nationality British
Born (1973-03-29) 29 March 1973
Sport Track and field
Event(s) High jump
Updated on 30 December 2014.

Steve Smith (born 29 March 1973) is a retired high jumper from England. Smith's indoor mark of 2.38 metres and his outdoor mark of 2.37 metres are British records in the high jump (7 feet 9 and three-quarter inches, and 7 feet 9 and one-half inches, respectively).


Smith was born in Liverpool and trained there throughout his career under coach Mike Holmes. Standing 1.85 meters tall (6 ft. 1 inch), Smith is considered "small" in comparison to most world-class high jumpers. He jumps off his left leg. He first emerged as a talented jumper in 1990 when he cleared 2.25 (7 ft 4 inches) at a British national meet in Gateshead. In 1991 he improved to 2.29, and then had his "breakout" year in 1992, improving his best by an astonishing 8 centimeters. He qualified for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and reached the finals, finishing in 12th place with a disappointing height of only 2.24. One month after those Olympics, he competed at the 1992 World Junior Championships, where he won, and equalled the junior world record of 2.37 metres (outdoors), which Dragutin Topic had achieved in 1990. Smith equalled this result twice more (once indoors and once outdoors.) He established his personal best of 2.38, set indoors at Wuppertal, Germany, on 4 February 1994, which still stands as the British record.

He was a bronze medalist at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, the first British man to win a medal in the high jump since Con Leahy in 1908. He did it with just 5 jumps: eight men cleared 2.32, but only three (Smith, Poland's Artur Partyka and American Charles Austin) successfully jumped 2.35. With their medals secured, all 3 missed their initial attempts at 2.37, then passed for final attempts at 2.39 which only Charles Austin cleared (for a new Olympic record). Partyka was awarded the silver medal because he had cleared 2.35 on his first jump, while Smith required two attempts.

A four-time national champion for Great Britain (AAA Championships) in the men's high jump event, Smith retired after rupturing his Achilles tendon in 1999 (a year in which he was still jumping 2.36 outdoors). During his career, Smith leaped 2.36 (7 ft 9 inches) or better at nine different competitions. While his performance at the 1996 Olympics stands as the capstone, his best year was 1993 when he placed third at both the IAAF World Championships Indoors (Toronto, Canada, on 14 March) and Outdoors (Stuttgart, Germany, on 22 August), jumping 2.37 at both meets.

Shortly after he retired from competition, he opened a restaurant in his hometown of Liverpool in 2000, and he is now a director of a training company that uses sport as an inspirational learning model.

Smith is now a motivational speaker with experience of working with corporate and sporting organisations, in particular premier league football.


He was educated at the all-boys' De La Salle School in Liverpool, England.


Year Competition Venue Position Notes
1992 World Junior Championships Seoul, South Korea 1st 2.37
1993 World Indoor Championships Toronto, Canada 3rd 2.37 indoor PB
World Championships Stuttgart, Germany 3rd 2.37 =PB
1994 European Championships Helsinki, Finland 2nd
Commonwealth Games Victoria, Canada 2nd
1995 World Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 4th
1996 Olympic Games Atlanta, United States 3rd
1997 World Indoor Championships Paris, France 6th


  • Steve Smith profile at IAAF
  • Profile at The Power of Ten
  • Raise the BarSteve Smith at
Preceded by
Javier Sotomayor
Charles Austin
Men's High Jump Best Year Performance
Succeeded by
Javier Sotomayor
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