Pole vaulting history

Athletics, Pole Vault, Sport

A popular track and field event, pole vaulting demands agility and speed. The process of conducting and using a pole to vault over a barrier includes a defined history from ancient times to modern day. A contemporary Olympic event from 1896, it has seen a revolution concerning the techniques and technology used.

The occurrence of vaulting equipment started life in a world far from competitive sport. There is evidence of practice by ancient Greeks and Egyptians, where warriors are depicted as vaulting over walls. The strategic advantage of vaulting walls quickly has obvious benefits in tactical scenarios, with war being one of them. Early poles were made from tree limbs and bamboo.

In marshy areas poles were a practical way of helping people bypass natural obstacles in Holland and many counties within the UK. It certainly had cost and time saving benefits compared to Melbourne FL Wildlife Removal for example.

The first known competition flips the idea of pole vaulting as we see it today. It was based on distance covered rather than height. It was not until 1850 that the first elevation based pole vault competition begun. It had been added to the exercises of the Turner gymnastic clubs in Germany.

Bamboo was still used in Olympic poles up to the Second World War. In the 1950’s poles were starting to be manufactured using fiberglass. This material resulted in the creation of flexible poles allowing vaulters to attain greater heights. Wrapped with pre-cut sheets of fiberglass, contemporary poles have the ability to bend more easily under the compression experienced when an athlete takes off. Poles were lighter, stronger, more flexible and allowed greater speed on the approach. In the last few years carbon fibre was added to the mixture to create poles with a lighter weight. Because of this technology the Olympic gold winning height almost doubled in less than a century. In 1896 the winning height was 3.30 metres compared to the world record of 6.14 metres set in 1994.

Advances weren’t only made in the construction of the rod but also landing locations. Early landing areas were simply an area of sawdust or sand. As improvements in pole technology led to higher heights being attained, the landing areas started to use foam mats to minimize the risk of injury.

Pole vaulting was only introduced as an Olympic event for girls in the millennium year.

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