Former University of Akron All-American Shawn Barber qualified for the XXXI Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, winning the men’s pole vault at the Canadian Championships on Saturday night in Edmonton, Alberta.
Barber vaulted a Canadian Championships record height of 18-4¾ (5.61 meters) to easily win the competition, besting Aaron Unterberger and Deryk Theodore, who tied for second place after jumping 17-0¾ (5.20 meters).
“A little nerve-racking with weather system changes,” University of Akron track and field coach Dennis Mitchell said in a news release. “Warm-ups started off with great conditions, but by the time it was his turn to come in the weather had deteriorated. This added to the drama. Like a professional, Shawn was able to make the adjustments necessary to win and break a meet record. Most important was that he put the final stamp on his going to Rio.”
Barber joins former UA teammate Clayton Murphy, who will compete in the 800-meter run for the United States.
“I’m super excited to go to Rio and compete in the Olympics,” said Barber. “Now everything we are focusing on from this point forward is doing our best at the Olympic Games.”
The qualifying rounds in the men’s pole vault at the Olympics will be at 7:20 p.m. Aug. 13. The finals of the pole vault will be at 7:35 p.m. Aug. 15.