World champion Shawn Barber is currently riding the crest of a wave in his pole vaulting career. Here the Canadian six-metre vaulter takes time out to outline a few significant firsts in both his athletics and non-athletics life.

First pole vault competition

The first competition I can remember was at a fair when I was very young. After I jumped, I recall my dad gave me $20 to play games at the fair. I had to spend it all within 10 minutes, but I wasn’t very good at pacing myself.

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First coach

My first coach was my soccer coach, his name was Coach Bailey, I think. He was a coach for several years at the local university and one of the hardest coaches I’ve experienced. I learned a lot from the guy.

First international medal

I won a bronze medal at the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona and I remember it well because it was the first time I had travelled abroad. I was thrilled to win a medal because I wasn’t expected to climb the podium. I set two or three PBs that day.

First injury

It happened while playing soccer in middle school. I remember during one tournament a kid slide-tackled me and connected with my ankle. I recall crying before I even hit the ground. I was determined to play in the tournament the next day, even for only a few minutes. However, I had to step off the field almost immediately because of the pain. My team later went on to win the championship. It was a bittersweet moment. I look back fondly on my time with the team because of the camaraderie we enjoyed together.

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First media interview

It came during my sophomore year at high school after competing at the state championships in the pole vault. I remember struggling to find the right words during the interview but after the interview was done I felt much better.

First fashion disaster

The first one that springs to mind happened while I was at elementary school. I used to slick my hair straight back and rock the leather jacket. I look back now and cringe. The blunder years.

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First childhood friend

My first childhood friend was my brother. I could always count on him for an adventure.

First piece of clothing bought

I bought a flat leather cap from money I made selling fruit and veg from the local farmers market. At the time I thought it was so cool and I used to wear it all the time.

First toy

It was a box of Lincoln logs. I was a champion log cabin builder.

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First app

The first app I ever downloaded was called TapTap Revenge. It was a Guitar Hero-style game but involved tapping on the phone instead of playing guitar. I’m feeling all nostalgic, so I might have to go back and download it again.

First thing you learned to cook

Ramen noodles, if you consider that cooking. I had a serious love for noodles and even did a project on them at elementary school.

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First book that made you cry

Charlotte’s Web when Charlotte dies. I didn’t even particularly like the book, but that part was quite sad.

First Car

My first car was a ‘95 Volvo 850. So much style!

First pet

It was a stray cat my family adopted. Its name was Wild Thing and it was probably the best pet I’ve ever had.

 

 

 

From: http://www.iaaf.org/news/series/shawn-barber-canada-pole-vault

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