Athletics: when Pau flew at high altitude…

Athletics: when Pau flew at high altitude…

Only a few days, it is…

Only a few days, it is true, before the French championships which, that year, served “as a basis for the great Olympic meeting in Barcelona”. Since then, as we know, and despite a few still promising editions, this meeting is no more. Alas. But the surge in prices on the galaxy of the gods of the stadium foreshadowed such an outcome….

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However, in 1992 therefore, the pole vault and high jump competitions disputed in Pau had held the top spot thanks to an enticing cartel. In the pole vault, for example, the Béarnais public saw “the old Grenoble veteran of the jumpers, Philippe Collet, go to the highest with a bar at 5.94 m”, underlined the chroniclers.

When Pau sees Sotomayor fly…

The following edition of the Pau athletics meeting was also of a very high standard. At the end of June 1993, in addition to Thierry Vigneron (for the pole vault competition) or the Bulgarian Donkova, the Lavie stadium indeed welcomed a living god of the stadiums of the time in the person of Javier Sotomayor. Undisputed king of the high jump, the Cuban champion, “of disarming simplicity” we wrote, had, by his mere presence, “crowned a concentration of high-level athletes never seen in Béarn and in the great south-west “. That day, we remember that, at the end of the meeting, Sotomayor even had to make a rather symbolic attempt against his own world record. It should be noted that the reference mark, established by the Cuban a month later during the meeting in Salamanca (Spain), is still at 2.45 m. And that, 29 years later, this world record still stands. He is even one of the oldest in athletics.

The world of Pau athletics also remembers having seen a certain Jean Galfione, still young (21), who, we can read, “knows that he has the 5.92 m in his legs to erase Vigneron from the shelves , but maybe not quite in the head yet”.

Need we remind you that the same man became, 4 years later, Olympic champion in Atlanta…

“Dense and Intense”

“Always very popular with us”, the height competition, beautifully crafted, also brought its stone to the meeting. And if the protagonists of the moment were content “to flirt with the old national record” (2.32 m), we will not go unmentioned either “the best French performance of the year in the javelin (79.44 m)” established by Lefevre.

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In short. All this to say that, in 1992 again, in Pau, we were flying very high. As “promised by the organizer”, welcomed our colleagues, the meeting, “even without an exceptional star, turned out to be dense and intense”.

By saying this, the demanding Jacques Delsol confirmed his reputation. He would manage to reach the world summits the following year, with the immense Cuban jumper Sotomayor.

In the meantime, that day, the local world had given itself an enviable showcase. Freshly champion of Aquitaine under the colors of the CUP, Philippe Cantos, who had crossed 2.05 m at the height (10th in the competition), will not contradict us…

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