Stefan Christian Holm is a retired Swedish high jumper. He has won an Olympic gold medal, a silver in the World Championships, and one silver and one bronze medal in the European Championships. His personal records are 2.37 m (7 ft 9.3in) (outdoors, set 2008) and 2.40 m (7 ft 10.49in) (indoors, set 2005). He is currently coach of Swedish high jumper Sofie Skoog.
Holm was born in Forshaga, the son of father Johnny and mother Elisabeth. He has a sister named Veronica who is three years older than he is. Holm married Anna Lycke in 2005 and has a son, Melwin, who was born in 2004.
Holm, who was trained by his father, hadn’t always been a high jumper. For many of his childhood years, Holm played football. It was not until 1991 when he realized that he had much more potential as a high jumper than a football player.
His inspiration for high-jumping began when he was 8 years old. He saw a Swedish high-jumping legend, and former world-record holder, Patrik Sjöberg, compete on television.
Holm’s big breakthrough onto the world athletics scene came in 2000, when he finished 4th at the Sydney Olympics with a leap of 2.32m (7 ft 7.34in). 24 years old at the time, Holm had been high jumping for over half of his life.
He set an indoor personal best of 2.36 (7 ft 8.91in) in 2003 to win the Hochsprung mit Musik meeting, and managed to reach the same height outdoors the following year while winning the Internationales Hochsprung-Meeting Eberstadt. In 2004, Holm won the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens with a jump of 2.36 and was awarded the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal.
Holm has the distinction of jumping 2 m or higher in six different techniques. With his height, being only 1.81 m, he shares the unofficial World Record of height jumped above own height (59 cm) with USA’s 1970s jumper Franklin Jacobs. In 1993 he participated in a decathlon where he jumped higher in the high jump (2.04 m) than in the pole vault (2.00 m).
Holm finished 4th at the 2008 Summer Olympics with a leap of 2.32 m. On 13 September 2008 he announced his retirement from the sport. Holm ended his 20-year career with a second place at the World Athletics Final in Stuttgart.
Holm is one of two jumpers to have cleared 2.40 m indoors since Javier Sotomayor (the other being Ivan Ukhov) – outdoors this has also been achieved by Vyacheslav Voronin.
He briefly returned to high jump competition in 2010 for a charity event: the Auto Lounge Comeback competition in Sweden. As his main rival Patrik Sjöberg had a knee injury, Holm agreed to jump off his wrong foot to even the score. He beat Sjöberg in the wrong-footed faceoff and went back to his normal takeoff to jump 2.15 m for third behind Ukhov and Donald Thomas.
Holm lives in Karlstad, Sweden, and competed for Kils AIK. He is an avid fan of Färjestad BK, an ice hockey team in the top-tier Swedish Hockey League (SHL), and also of IF Björklöven in the second-tier league HockeyAllsvenskan.
He became an IOC member at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires in September 2013.
On his 40th birthday, Holm set a new Swedish veteran record for 40-year olds (M40). With 2.06 m he broke the previous record of 2.05 m, which had been held by Egon Nilsson for almost 50 years.