The 20-Year Wait – 6.16m
For the past 20 years, the pole vault world has waited for a vaulter just as tall, as fast, and talented at Sergey Bubka. The pole vault community was convinced that a man larger and faster would make the difference between 6.15 or more. After many years of development and training for the Sergey Bubka standard, it has come down to a new level of pole-vaulter smaller than and not as quick as the past record holder.
In the images, please note that the line drawing is not to scale nor absolute.
In this image of Sergey Bubka, you will notice that Sergey Bubka and his plant angle is higher than Renaud Lavillenie because of his body height. Sergey Bubka has a height of 1.85m and Renaud Lavillenie has a height of 1.76m. The higher the plant angle the easier to make the pole vertical.
After reviewing the take-off angle, we noticed that the taller pole vaulter was higher than the smaller pole vaulter. It seems a contradiction to the standard belief of the pole vaulting community.
According to the “widely accepted” pole vaulting technique, if you jump higher at take off with the pole, you will achieve a more vertical drive.
What is the secret to this success?
Since Renaud Lavillenie is not as tall as Sergey Bubka and his speed is less, how do we explain his grip height roughly the same? Maybe the secret is the flatter take off and the greater bending of the pole. How do we accomplish the greater bend with the pole?
Renaud Lavillenie has to drive the pole longer then Sergey Bubka because of the body height and lack of speed. Renaud Lavillenie has the ability to lower the mass center of his body with the help of the right leg. Therefore, with this technique it is not necessary to finish driving the knee and actually driving the foot down to produce a longer penetration into the pole.
Because of the longer penetration from Renaud Lavillenie , it seems that he is late with his swing or “J” position. This is caused by the work of the stronger left arm. Since Renaud Lavillenie has greater bending, he has the opportunity to receive more energy from his pole.
We are not here to decide which technique is the best, but we would like to present all of the information for a better decision. This may be a discussion to have amongst vaulters, but this seems to be the way of the future.
Note: We didn’t have the best of resources to complete this analysis, to include angles, and positions. In the near future, there will be more work and greater elaboration of this technique.