The Relative High Jump

There are many bizarre characteristics that people often notice about me. Yes, I have the face of a child and always have done. Yes, I only have one working nostril. Yes, my head is unusually large.

But the strange thing noticed by strangers that I’m most proud of is my unexpectedly high jumping ability. The only time this really comes to light these days is during football (soccer) matches, when I often play in central midfield. I often hear something like “He’s the shortest player on the pitch – how’s he winning all the headers?”

I always wondered where I would rank in the world “relative high jump” competition, measuring how high you can jump as a percentage of your height. I remember being particularly annoyed after our school high jump competition in year 8 when my post-pubertal friend who was about twice my height pipped me to the coveted crown of being year 8’s best high jumper by essentially stepping over the bar after my epic Fosbury Flop.

I wrote a strongly worded letter to the headmaster asking for the year 9 high jump competition to factor in the pupil’s height. I never did get a reply…

Anyways, after a huge hiatus, this week I am putting to bed considerable emotional baggage from that dark day by bringing to you the animal Relative High Jump competition. As usual, I’ll set out the ground rules and give you a few seconds (and a blank lower half of your screen) to think about your candidate before you page down.

The Ground Rules

Animals jump from the ground (terrain of their choice) and can jump in any direction. They are not jumping over a bar but their location will be mapped by clever computery jiggery pokery and the highest point they reach will be measured. This distance is divided by their standing height to give a number:

n =   “jump height” ÷ “animal height”

The animal with the highest “n” takes the prize.

So, 5 seconds to choose your animal folks…







They always come to mind when I think of jumping things. Which is surprisingly regularly… Anything with another word for jumping as part of its name must be a winner, surely


Well, I’m a firm believer you can find a research project for anything and in that vein, here is an interesting project about grasshopper jumping with a good video at the bottom which looks to show a grasshopper jumping up to 25 times its height. Have that cyberville, my ‘n’ is 25!

Not only that, but he is also a very low maintenance athlete, requiring no more than a small amount of leaves and perhaps some faeces.

That is, of course, until he invites all his locusts mates on our victory parade.

Just to give you a bit of perspective, I am 5 foot 10. Aka average. That  grasshopper jump is equivalent to my jumping 44 metres in to the air, or over this tree.

And yet, somehow I feel there may be better out there…

I am such an imbacile


How did I miss this trick?! Flea-jumping! That’s like the only thing they’re famous for.


It seems so obvious now, but fleas can jump seriously high – the wisdom of the interweb tells me they can jump up to 150 times their height! That’s like me jumping over this random tower I found on Google.

Well, there you have it. I lost again. And with another defeat, so my emotional baggage predictably returns like an avalanche of pain to bury me in crippling doubt about my jumping ability…

What’s your ‘n’? Can you beat a grasshopper without choosing a flea?


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