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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


High jumping from Iceland to Tucson


Official visit, Kristjan Sigfinnsson on Jan. 12. (Courtesy of Mike Christy/Arizona Athletics)

University of Arizona track and field made a big splash for the 2022-23 season with the recent commitment of World Athletics U-20 World Championships qualifier Kristján Viggó Sigfinnsson, who officially signed his letter of intent in January to attend the school. 

Sigfinnsson is ranked 143 in the world for men’s high jump as an 18-year-old. He’s had several offers coming out of high school including the University of Tennessee, where he said he considered going to before Tennessee’s high jump coach left. In the end, Sigfinnsson decided to take his talents to the University of Arizona, a move that has made high jump coach Bob Meyers “extremely happy.”

“I think the big part of his commitment was his family realizing that he would be coming to a place where he just wouldn’t be an athlete,” Meyers said. “Instead, a place where he can come and grow as a person and become the best person he can become.”

Sigfinnsson, who was born and raised in Iceland, said it was an easy decision to come to the UA.

“I felt the coaches here kept me informed of what was going on, which allowed me to connect with not just the coaches but the university as well,” Sigfinnsson said during a Zoom call from his home country in Iceland. “To be honest, the main reason I came here was because of the weather, which is better than compared to where I’m from.”

Iceland’s average temperature in the winter hovers around 33-35 degrees Fahrenheit, while summertime highs average 54 degrees Fahrenheit. 

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Sigfinnsson first started competing professionally after his mother convinced him to give it a shot. His parents competed in the high jump, which made the learning process fairly easy.

“At first, I didn’t want to practice any sport. My mom was adamant about getting me active,” Sigfinnsson said. “She somehow got me to compete for the first time at age 11, and it all of a sudden clicked and I knew I wanted to pursue this.”

According to Sigfinnsson, his personal best is a total score of 1,072 that he got on March 21, 2021. He has also most recently qualified for the upcoming U-20 world championship after he jumped 2.15 meters — just over 7 feet — which was more than enough to qualify.

Sigfinnsson said that competing on an international stage away from his native Iceland “drives me to do better after seeing how much competition there is in the world.”

“It’s really different than competing here in Iceland because there is a lot more competition in other countries,” Sigfinnsson said. “I enjoy competing with other athletes my age.”

Sigfinnsson, who would like to one day compete in the Olympics, said he will focus on academics as well as athletics at the UA. 

“My goals while attending the UA are more than just the athletic side. I want to find my major and finish my academic goals as well,” Sigfinnsson said. “On the athletic side, I think scoring 2.30 meters in the high jump is a realistic goal that I have for myself.”

*El Inde Arizona is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.  

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