Pole vaulting is a track and field event where a flexible pole is used to jump over a horizontal crossbar without knocking it down. The vaulter sprints and lands on a cushioned area. Jumps are made at progressive heights, and the last height climbed is the winning height. The pole is released at the height of the vault. The event starts with a sprint, and the pole vaulter twists their body through a series of twists, spins, or somersaults. The sport evolved from using poles cut from trees to competitive pole vaulting with steel hoses and sawdust pits.
Pole vaulting is a height jump performed in track and field events with the aid of a long, flexible pole. The pole is used to jump over a horizontal crossbar without knocking it down. The jump is preceded by a sprint and the landing takes place on the barre on a soft or cushioned area. The pole is released at the height of the vault, as the jumper crosses the crossbar. Like the high jump and the wide jump, pole vaulting has been around since the Ancient Greek Olympics and has become popular as an Olympic sport since the advent of the modern Olympic Games in 1896.
In pole vaulting, jumps are made by each vaulter at progressive heights. When a jumper eclipses a certain height, the bar is raised for the next jumper. The last height climbed is the winning height. Vaulting is lost when a jumper fails to reach the height set by the competitors. The vaulter gets three attempts at each jump, at which point he must pass the bar or be disqualified. The pole vault world record height was set by Ukrainian Sergey Bubka in 1994 when he reached a height of 6.14 m (20.1 ft).
The event starts with a sprint along a rubber track, like the long jump. The vaulter will generally hold the pole upright at one end, lowering it as he approaches the bar, with both hands on the pole. The other end of the post is then lowered into the mat as the crossbar is approached. The flexible nature of the pole supports the weight of the vaulter as its momentum swings the pole upward towards the bar. The jumper then releases from the pole at his zenith height, usually just at or below the bar.
The bar can be maneuvered, just like a long jump. The pole vaulter often twists their body through a series of twists, spins, or somersaults. Usually with the back or front arched upward to keep the center of mass as low as possible, the pole vaulter attempts to clear the bar. The pole is released before the bar is reached and thrown or dropped onto the track. The athlete then drops to the mat below, on his back or shoulders.
Sport was born as a natural reaction to the environment and a means of survival. Poles cut from trees or nature, often bamboo poles, were used to clear obstructions such as swamps or small ravines. This evolved into the competitive pole vaulting of steel hoses and sawdust pits that began in the early 20th century. From these developments came the use of large foam mats for the landing area and aluminum and fiberglass poles for the canopy. Most modern poles are rubber tipped and bendable yet sturdy enough to support the weight of nearly any pole vault performer.