A crash course for anyone who wants to know about the elusive pole vault. Written By: Tori Gaul

In celebration of the beginning of a new track season, I would like to inform people about what they need to know about pole vaulters. The common response to “I pole vault” usually sounds something like, “Oh that’s the one with the stick right?” Well yes and no.

Yes, people are thinking of the right event, but it’s not a stick, it’s a pole. Also, pole vault entails much more than just putting a stick on the ground and jumping. Pole vaulters are the ultimate sprinter, jumper, and thrower. We run full speed down a runway towards a pit with a 10’ to 17’ pole in our hands. We use the jumping techniques of a long jumper. We may not throw an object, but we throw ourselves over a bar 8’ to 20’ in the air. It can be one of the most entertaining events too, almost like gymnastics or diving. Most vaulters are pretty fearless.

People also think pole vaulting looks really dangerous. Based on all the pole vault fail videos on YouTube, I suppose I can understand why. But if a vaulter knows what they’re doing, they more than likely will not hurt themselves. The pit is pretty soft and breaking a pole is not as painful as it sounds (most of the time).

Most people ask, “Isn’t it scary falling all that way?” But if you talk to most vaulters they will tell you that is their favorite part. The falling gives a pretty nice adrenaline rush.

The terms you need to know when talking to a vaulter. The “stick” is called a pole. The hole in the ground where we put the pole is called the box. The object we fall onto is called the mat or the pit. The bar we jump over is just that, a bar, it’s not a pole that would just get confusing. Oh, and those big intimidating things next the pit that hold the bar are called the standards and we can move those back and forth depending on our jump.


For all the people out there that are curious about a 16’ colorful bag on the top or side of my car, it’s not a bazooka or a nerf gun (literally had someone ask that). That bag or poles on the side/top of my car are my poles. Try hauling around five to ten poles longer than your car. We get pretty inventive with ways to travel. So please if you see me or any car with poles do not stare and swerve into my lane. I would like to live to be able to pole vault. Take yourself a good look and then focus on the road.

So next time you meet a vaulter say, “That’s the one with the pole right?” Please do not stare on the highway. And if you are ever at a track meet, try to watch the pole vault. We will try to entertain you!

I love pole vaulting, and I hope that somebody out there reading this will fall in love with it too.



From: http://theodysseyonline.com/carson-newman/what-pole-vaulters-want-you-to-know/247831


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