The personal story of museum founder János Angyal about this sport relic

It happened in Rome. I was preparing to be a footballer and my favourite was Sanyi Kocsis – I even combed my hair the same way he did. Then, I was listening to the broadcast of the 1960 Olympics in Rome and got touched by the wind of athletics. The surest man to win the high jump event, the only dead-sure tip of the 17th Olympics, the unmatched, the one who bested the world record by 6 centimetres and set 222 centimetres, the American John Thomas cleared 214 centimetres and became third. The World Record Holder was defeated by two Soviet jumpers, the Georgian Savlakadze and the only 18-year-old Russian Brumel.

222 centimetres, it wouldn’t let me rest. The day after, I tried to see the height I could jump over. In our garden I dug up the place for landing, drove nails at every 5 centimetres into two sunflower stalks – which were my stands – while I put the third one over and thus, the crossbar was also ready.

At the age of 13, for my first trial I used the straddle jump technique and jumped over 120 centimetres, barely one metre behind the World Record. Athletics got through me, I was curious whether I could jump over my own height. I did it! Wearing the famous Bodnar catapult shoes I jumped 182 centimetres in Dunakeszi.

The sunflower stalk I put over, the crossbar became a defining element in my life.

With my partner, János Pozsik, we applied an innovative solution and manufactured the first crossbars circular in cross-section and reinforced with fibre-glass instead of the then-used fragile, triangular, aluminium crossbars. The crossbar became patented and received the patent number 171 205 from the National Invention Office and later we both received the “Golden Degree of Outstanding Inventor” Award. We thought the world was ours and money would follow our invention but we soon sobered up because we either had the manufacturer but not the customer, or the customer and not the manufacturer. Eventually, with the help of ARTEX we found both a manufacturer and a distributor.

I went house-by-house at competitions with the A-P REKORD branded high jump crossbars. István Major, our several-time National Record Holder and Indoor European Champion talked remarkably highly of our crossbar and the press publicity also helped paving the way.

It was a great success when Tamara Bikova bested the Indoor World Record of women’s high jump two times within 10 minutes over our crossbar on March 6, 1983. First, she set 202 centimetres, then after a few minutes she cleared 203 centimetres.

Bubka jumped the World Record of 605 centimetres above our crossbar in Bratislava on June 9, 1988 – the photo capturing this moment travelled all around the world and was on the cover of the IAAF Magazine. 

Following the regime change at the end of 1989, we were left without a manufacturer once again so we started to produce them by our company. At the time, after analyzing the position of the world’s top high jumpers above the crossbar and in accordance with the rules of the IAAF,  I changed the end elements of the crossbars. Thanks to this revolutionary new solution, the crossbar stayed in its place and didn’t fall off even when it was touched during the jump. Then, in 1995 I received the surprising news that our German partner, the company of ERHARD, would not pay for our latest delivery because the German Athletics Association (DLV) considered the end pieces of our crossbars irregular. I turned to the IAAF with my complaint and enclosed the comparative analysis of the end elements of the crossbars and the sag in accordance with the IAAF rules. Lucky for us, the answer was reassuring as Carl G. Tollomar, President of the IAAF Technical Committee informed DLV that our bars were in line with the regulations and our solution is in line even with the strictest regulations. Ironically or fairly, by the hand of fate, Kajsa Bergqvist set the Indoor World Record of 208 centimetres by jumping over our bar in Arnstadt, Germany on February 4, 2006. This World Record still stands today. Her jump can be watched on the internet, everyone can decide for themselves whether the end pieces contributed to the success.

Hungary became a member of the European Union in 2004, so we also made some changes. The bars received new stickers motivating the jumpers to perform better: “altius, altius, altius”, i.e. “higher, higher, higher”!



Tamara Bykova’s world record of 203 cm over the A-P RECORD crossbar


István Major’s jump over a crossbar still with a square end


The ALTIUS crossbars with innovative end element received the latest certification from World Athletics


In the 2001 Erhard catalogue, number 7 item is an A-P RECORD crossbar certified by World Athletics


Sergey Bubka’s world record on the cover of the IAAF (now World Athletics) Magazine, dedicated to museum founder János ANGYAL


The certificate of World Athletics for the ALTIUS high jump crossbar is valid until 2024