Pole vaulting is a track and field event in which a person uses a long, flexible pole (which today is usually made either of fiberglass or carbon fiber) as an aid to jump over a bar. Pole jumping competitions were known to the ancient Greeks, Cretans and Celts. It has been a full medal event at the Olympic Games since 1896 for men and 2000 for women. It is typically classified as one of the four major jumping events in athletics….alongside the high jump, long jump and triple jump. It is unusual among track and field sports in that it requires a significant amount of specialized equipment in order to participate….even at a basic level. A number of elite pole vaulters have had backgrounds in gymnastics…. including world record breakers Yelena Isinbayeva and Brian Sternberg….reflecting the similar physical attributes required for the sports.…running speed, however, may be the most important skill required.
In the 1984 Olympics men’s decathlon competition….eventual gold winner GBR Daley Thompson was an outstanding pole vaulter at the time…..clearing 16′ 4 1/2″….which is was good enough to earn him over 900 points out of 1000.