The John Shearman Hop, Skip and Jump AAA Challenge Cup

By Dr Jane Ainsworth


The Story of the Event

Hop, Skip and Jump, or Triple Jump as it has been known since the 1960s, was not contested at the Amateur Athletics Association championships until 1914, even though it had appeared in the programme of every modern Olympics to date. Records even suggest some British success in the event, with a victory for Tim Ahearne in the 1908 London Games, although Ahearne’s victory would be better credited to Ireland. When triple jump did appear on the AAA programme, along with discus and javelin, it was on probation, as the Championship Committee declared that it would only continue as long as it was on the Olympic programme. In 1919, the first championship after the war, the standard was considered insufficient to justify the event being held.

Photo credit: David Rowan

Until World War II the AAA Triple Jump Championship was dominated by overseas athletes. The first victory went to Sweden’s Ivar Sahlin, with Scandinavian domination continuing up to 1922, when the event was won by Finish athlete Vilho Tuulos, Olympic champion in 1920 at the Antwerp Games. Six victories were then notched up by Willem Peters of the Netherlands, whose 1927 jump of 15.47m would not be beaten for nearly another 30 years at the championships.

The 1950s saw British athlete Ken Wilmshurst win this trophy five consecutive time, as well as winning gold in both long jump and triple jump in Vancouver 1954 at The British Empire and Commonwealth Games, precursor of today’s Commonwealth Games. Fred Alsop, twice a Commonwealth bronze medallist, continued the run of multiple wins for a British athlete, winning this title on four occasions between 1960 and 1965, while 1966 saw Polish athlete and double Olympic gold medallist Józef Szmidt  lift this trophy.

The names of two men who would go on to become leading British jumping coaches, Aston Moore and John Herbert appear on this trophy multiple times throughout the 1970s and 80s, along with one appearance apiece from American athletes Mike Conley, who won both horizontal jumps at the 1983 championships and went on to become Olympic triple jump champion in Barcelona 1992, and Willie Banks in 1991, whose world record British athlete Jonathan Edwards would go on to break. In the history of the event, Edwards’ distances still remain outstanding.  The first to jump 60 feet in imperial and 18 metres in metric, his world record of 18.29m has stood since the final of the world championships in Gothenburg, 1995. Briefly in 2002 he was holder of Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth titles simultaneously, as well as World record holder. At the Commonwealth Games of 1994, however, Edwards was defeated by a competitor whose commitment to the event belies the rigours it places on the body; Julian Golley’s three AAA victories span 19 years.

The Donor
John Shearman, the donor of the trophy appears as a member of the London Athletic Club at the turn of the twentieth century, acting as starter for their club meetings. The brother of Sir Montague Shearman, one of the founders of AAA, he played rugby for Wasps who were then based in London.  His prowess as a sprinter was highly valued on the pitch.

History of the Trophy
AAA champions in the triple jump received this trophy for the event first contested in 1914. Since 2010, the trophy has been presented to the winner of the English Senior Championships Triple Jump.

Previous Winners*

 1930 W. Peters1967 F. Alsop
 1931 J. Blankers1968 S. Ciochina
 1932 A. Gray1969 A. Wadhams
 1933 J. Blankers1970 M. Muraki
 1934 E. Boyce1971 A. Wadhams
 1935 W. Peters1972 D. Johnson
 1936 J. Metcalfe1973 A. Wadhams
 1937 W. Peters1974 T. Inoue
 1938 E. Boyce1975 M. McGrath
 1939 I. Palamiotis1976 A. Moore
 1946 D. Watts1977 D. Johnson
 1947 D. Watts1978 A. Moore
 1948 G. Avery1979 K. Connor
 1949 H Van Egmond1980 P. Jordan
 1950 S. Cross1981 A. Moore
 1951 S. Cross1982 K. Lorraway
 1952 W. Burgard1983 M. Conley
1914 I. Sahlin1953 K. Wilmshurst1984 L. Betancourt
1915 – No Championship1954 K. Wilmshurst1985 W. Banks
1918 (European War)1955 K. Wilmshurst1986 J. Taiwo
1919 event not held1956 K. Wilmshurst1987 E. McCalla
1920 C. Lively1957 K. Wilmshurst1988 J. Herbert
1921 F. Jansson1958 D. Norris1989 J. Edwards
1922 V. Tuulos1959 J. Whall1990 J. Herbert
1923 J. Odde1960 F. Alsop1991 W. Banks
1924 J. Higginson1961 F. Alsop1992 J. Golley
1925 E. Somfay1962 T. Ota1993 F. Agyepong
1926 J. Higginson1963 K. Sakurai1994 J. Edwards
1927 W. Peters1964 F. Alsop1995 F. Agyepong
1928 W. Peters1965 F. Alsop 
1929 W. Peters1966 J. Szmidt 
2010 J. Golley2013 J. Reid2016 B. Williams
2011 J. Golley2014 J. Reid2017 N. Douglas
2012 M. Puplampu2015 N. Fox2018 J. Ilori
  2019 N. Fox