In pole vaulting and other sports, athletes often wear form-fitting clothing to minimize air resistance and maximize movement. Women pole vaulters, like their male counterparts, typically don tight-fitting shorts and tops for optimal range of motion and flexibility. However, the revealing nature of such attire has sparked a debate on whether it offers a performance advantage or if it is a modesty issue.

Research on the matter has yet to uncover any evidence that suggests revealing clothing improves performance in pole vaulting. The decision on what to wear during competition ultimately comes down to personal preference and cultural factors. Some athletes may opt for revealing clothing for performance reasons, while others may choose to wear less revealing clothing for modesty. It is the individual athlete’s prerogative to decide what they feel most comfortable wearing while competing.

It’s possible that the form-fitting uniforms worn by pole vaulters may have some connection to a gymnastics background, as gymnasts also often wear form-fitting clothing during competitions. Additionally, pole vaulting, like gymnastics, is a sport that requires a high level of strength, flexibility, and control, which may make form-fitting clothing more practical for the athletes.

It’s also possible that wearing form-fitting clothing may be a source of pride for some pole vaulters, as it can showcase their strength and athleticism. Additionally, some athletes may see it as a way to express confidence in their bodies and fitness.

It’s worth noting that the choice of attire is a personal one, and different athletes may have different reasons for why they choose to wear form-fitting clothing. Therefore, it is important to respect their choices and not make assumptions about their motivations.

The governing bodies of track and field, such as USA Track and Field (USATF), the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), and World Athletics, have rules and regulations regarding the attire worn by athletes during competitions. These rules generally focus on ensuring that the clothing worn by athletes does not provide an unfair advantage and that it is safe for the athlete to wear.

However, it is not the case that these governing bodies actively promote less clothing similar to beach volleyball. Beach volleyball is a different sport with different clothing regulations, athletes in beach volleyball wear less clothing because it’s more practical for the sport and the environment, and the sport itself is played on sand and is more casual than track and field events.

It’s worth noting that the clothing worn by athletes during competitions can also be influenced by cultural and societal factors, and it’s important to respect and consider these factors when discussing attire in sports.

Regarding viewership, it’s not clear how the clothing worn by athletes in pole vaulting would specifically impact viewership. Some viewers may be drawn to the athleticism and skill on display, regardless of what the athletes are wearing, while others may have preferences for a certain type of attire.


In any case, it is important to remember that the focus should be on the athlete’s skill and performance rather than their clothing choices.

By Doug Bouma – Vaulter Magazine –

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