Olympic and World Champion Athlete

Best results

Personal best:

240 cm
1991, Zürich

237 cm
1996, Atlanta

Olympic Games:

1x 1. place
1996, Atlanta: 239 cm OR

World Championships:

1x 1. place
1991, Tokio: 238 cm

Indoor World Championships:

1x 1. place
1997, Paris: 235 cm

1x 3. place
1999, Maebashi: 233 cm

At the Jumping Gala:

2x participant
1996 – 230 cm – 1. place
1997 – 232 cm – 2. place


The personal story of museum founder János Angyal about this pair of sport shoes

The story of the first pair of sport shoes of our Museum is intertwined with the story of one of the most special relics in the collection: the T-shirt signed by world famous stars, featuring two American superstars Charles Austin and Michael Jackson.

On his way to the 10th Jumping Gala in Salgótarján, Charles Austin, Olympic Champion of Atlanta in high jump, arrived at Budapest on September 10, 1996. During the flight he read that Michael Jackson was about to have a concert in Népstadion that night as part of his History World Tour. He called me right from the airport saying he was such a big fan of the popstar but had never seen him live before, and would be really happy to be at the concert, so he asked for my help in accomplishing that. Needless to say, all tickets – at the price of HUF 4,900 – were sold out weeks prior to the concert, so getting one seemed hopeless, but I tried. I called my friend Zoltán Molnár who was the Director of Népstadion back then asking for his assistance. Zoli called me back 10 minutes later and happily said: my friend, you’re lucky, because when the manager of Michael Jackson found out for whom I was asking for tickets, they provided me with two VIP tickets and invited Austin for the banquet after the concert in Hotel Kempinski .

Austin arrived in Salgótarján and was delighted by the news that he could attend the concert. Before he was about to depart to Budapest, I gave him the official T-shirt of the Jumping Gala with the request to get it signed by Jackson. The concert was fantastic, Jackson was celebrated after the closing song “Heal the World” for several minutes by the crowd of 50 thousand people. At the banquet after the show a miracle happened for us: Jackson kneeled down before Austin right at the party and signed the T-shirt on the marble floor while saying: Charles, my friend, I am a megastar but you are an Olympic Champion American high jumper which I can never be. And by that, his unique signature was on the T-shirt: “Love always, Michael Jackson”.

Austin won the Jumping Gala with 230 centimetres, and the competition had a real sight when he jumped over the basketball legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at the starting height. The 218-centimetre-tall, 6-time-NBA winner, 6-time-MVP and record holder of NBA points with 38,387, basketball player travelled to Budapest for the streetball final on September 12. He visited us thanks to our sponsor, Adidas, and had a performance of his iconic ‘sky hooks’ at the mobile court that was set up on the Main Square of Salgótarján.

The ladies’ event in high jump celebrated the World Record Holder, World and Olympic Champion Stefka Kostadinova as winner with 201 centimetres, while the men’s pole vault event was won by the Champion of the Barcelona Olympics, Maxim Tarasov with 580 centimetres. They also signed the aforementioned T-shirt, thus the entirely unique relic already had the signature of five world stars.

Austin won the men’s high jump and left for his next competition in Tokyo early morning the next day. We said farewell in the hall of Hotel Karancs, he hugged me and said: János, I had a fantastic experience here, I would like to thank you for it. He opened his sports bag and handed me his signed spike shoes which also read “Charles Austin ‘96 Olympic Champ, OR: 2.39”. Thus, he laid the foundation stone of the Jumping Gala Museum of Sport Shoes.



Charles Austin’s jump on the main square in Salgótarján


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Charles Austin in Salgótarján