Okay. So pole vault is a freaky sport. It’s tough, it’s dangerous, and it is damn impressive. But man, is it terrifying to watch! I actually dabbled in it during my high school years, but that didn’t make watching other vaulters any less stressful. The anxiety came back when viewing the Olympic event, and, thanks to events like these, it’s not too difficult to understand why.First, the big problem. During the qualifying rounds, on his very first turn, Lazaro Borges of Cuba snapped his pole and took a terrifying tumble down. Cue wincing. Luckily, Borges wasn’t injured, and no one else was hit by the fiberglass shards of the pole, so all was well. But still! Heart attack much? Borges just brushed off his shoulders, stood up, and kept going. While he didn’t make the Finals for the event, the fact that he was brave enough to keep going after such a nightmare earns him a medal in my eye any day. Then, the less-intense problem. Pole vaulting is very much a process, and while high school track officials could easily make us wait as long as we wanted as each person took their leisurely time for each of their turns, Olympic athletes don’t have to put up with that sh*t. 32 competitors entered the Qualifying event, and 2 and a half hours had passed and that number STILL wasn’t wittled down to 12 for the Final. The pole vaulters decided to try to talk with officials to bump up the number of accepted finalists. There was even a flurry of twitter posts about it referring to the #PoleVaultMutiny. To minimize the time-wasting process, especially for the athletes who were easily clearing the heights, the Olympic committee eventually caved at allowed 14 vaulters in. Hopefully they don’t have to wait as long for the Finals!
Lake Buena Vista, FL– Shawnacy Barber looks to be your normal high school teenager– except he pole vault over 18 feet/Barber broke the young men’s pole vaulting record at the 2012 AAU Junior Olympic Games with a height of 18 feet 3 1/2 inches. Many of the competitors bowed to early in the competition, leaving Barber to compete against his personal records. He has just hit 18 feet and with one final jump left, he was eyeing the record.“I’m glad it’s over,” said Barber. “It was stressful coming down to the last jump.”The Barber family are no strangers to the pole vaulting world. Dad, George, was a pole vaulter for UTEP back in the 1980′s and also had two stints with the Canadian National Team. Now, George coaches his protege.“He is basically my mini me, except the new and improved version,” said George. “I’m so proud of his accomplishments.”Barber had the opportunity to compete at the IAAF World Junior Championships this past summer in Barcelona, Spain with the Canadian National Team. Now, he sets his sights on college. Shawnacy will be vaulting for the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio next fall.“I’m looking forward to it,” said Barber. “I hope to jump high. Just have to take it one step at a time.” more