Most people could not imagine launching themselves fifteen plus feet into the air, but for a Pole Vaulter, fifteen feet is just one of many stepping stones to becoming the best. To achieve these heights, vaulters put themselves in some dangerous and difficult scenarios.
Failing to make it onto the pad and falling back onto the runway could cause serious injuries. You put yourself at risk for breaking or spraining your ankles if you ride the pole back down or if you release early you could break other bones as well. Even the most experienced vaulters don't always have successful jumps every time, Grahm Gonzalez fell back onto the runway in practice and injured his ankles. At this time, he does not believe he will be out for the season and is going to just walk it off. But that just goes to show you that no one is safe from injuries.
Starting out as an inexperienced vaulter, jumping under ten feet can still be dangerous. If you do not ride the pole out of a bad jump and fall into the box, you can seriously injure yourself. At the Lovejoy Texas Express Holiday Distance Festive, a young pole vaulter dropped into the box and dislocated her shoulder and required medical attention.
Pole Vault is not only dangerous, but it is one of the hardest sports as well. Pole Vaulters have to have a significant amount of upper body strength to launch themselves into the air, upside down on the pole. Some schools tell their vaulters they have to be able to walk on their hands to even attempt Pole Vault. ESPN ranked Pole Vault the sixteenth most difficult sport there is in an article which listed the 60 most difficult sports, based on a variety of factors. Pole Vaults is the hardest track events on the list as well.
Even with perfect technique, Pole Vaulters have to rely on their equipment to not have any malfunctions. Occasionally their poles can snap mid-jump if they are old or not the proper pole for the vaulter's size. This season alone, there are multiple occasions where a Pole has snapped on a vaulter as they were attempting a jump.
On the other hand, the rewards can outway the risks for many athletes, Pole Vault like all other track events can get athletes scholarships for colleges as well as a professional career which could take them to the Olympics. For Vaulters like Armand Duplantis and Riley Richards, pole vault has been a family sport for generations. Having the strong family ties to the sport is shown in their records, as they are ranked #1 and #2 in the nation for indoor pole vault, respectively.
TX China Spring
It takes a special kind of person to become a Pole Vaulter. Pole Vault is an event for the thrill seeker, and you can not be afraid of heights or you will never go anywhere in the sport. If you are afraid of going high in the air, you should find another track event to partake in.
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*Disclaimer: This article is my person opinion and does not in any way have the purpose of discrediting any other track events as they are all difficult and dangerous in their own ways*