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Reasons To Get High, Or Why Pole Vaulters Risk Everything For An Extra Half-Inch

Reasons To Get High Or Why Pole Vaulters Risk Everything For An Extra Half Inch VICE Sports


In a 2005 USA Today article, pole vaulting was ranked the third hardest thing to do in sports. Proof that sometimes the beauty of sports is the recognition that the graceful, effortless things we sometimes take for granted are actually excruciatingly difficult.

It's also extremely dangerous. To watch the pole vault, especially at such extreme heights, is an exercise in perversity. There is so much that can go wrong. At 20 feet, a pole vault accident is like someone falling off the roof of their house, while running as fast at they can with a thick pole in their hands.

Such is the life of a world-class pole vaulter: literally centimeters separate them from both the name above them in the record books and life-threatening catastrophe. All athletes at the highest levels of their sport are driven, sometimes maniacally so, but there may be something different in those who aim skyward. Vaulting is not lucrative at all, for a sport as physically demanding and difficult as it is, and very few outsiders pay attention to it.

The risks, in other words, seem to outweigh the rewards.

Stashed in: Risk!, Olympics!, Olympics, Risk, Vice

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Whoa, I had no idea pole vaulting is this dangerous!

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