Today’s Illustration: Pole Vault

running high jump  Running High Jump Vs. Pole Vaulting

On This Day:

World & Olympic Standing High Jump Record Set on July 16, 1900 by Ray Ewry — 1.65 meters — 5.41 feet

World Running High Jump Record Set in 1993 by Javier Sotomayor — 8 feet 1/2 inches.
Olympic Running High Jump Record Set in  by Charles Austin of the USA at Atlanta, 1996  — 2.39 meters (7 feet, 10 1/10 inches)

World Pole Vault Record Set in 2014 —  by Renaud Lavillenie —  20 feet and 2.50 inches.
Olympic Pole Vault Record Set in 2016 by Thiago Braz de Silva — 6.03 meters (19 feet & 9.25 inches)


Standing High Jump:  Human skill and effort without the benefit of any forward momentum

Running High Jump: No “aids” or “devices” are allowed.  It is strictly human skill and effort along with the benefit of forward momentum! (Forward momentum is converted to vertical lift).

Pole Vault:  Human skill and effort, along with the aid of a pole, constructed of various materials.


Facts & Information:

The Standing High Jump:

No longer part of the Olympics.

Last Olympic Champion:  Platt Adams (Gold), Belleville, New Jersey in 1912 — 6 feet 2 inches, and his brother Benjamin Adams (Silver – also 6 feet 2 inches)


The Running High Jump:

To compete, the individual must jump without the use of any device or aid, over a horizontal bar supported by two standards on the ends, at various measured heights, without causing the bar to dislodge from the two pins holding it up on the back side.

Jumpers approach the bar at around 30 – 40 degrees to give them more ground and therefore more potential speed.

The greater the speed in approaching the bar gives a greater ability to convert the forward speed into height.

The Fosbury Flop:  Dick Fosbury was the first person to go over the bar with his back turned towards the ground, after beginning with his head first and then twisting in the air into that position.  He used it and won the 1968 Olympic Gold Medal.


The Pole Vault:

The pole vault competition has been part of the Olympics since 1896, held in Athens, Greece.  At that time, the record jump was 3.30 meters (10.82 feet), by William Hoyt of Glastonbury, Connecticut.

Until 1972 the record was always held by an American.  In 1972, Wolfgang Nordwig of Germany became the champion at 5.50 meters (18.04 feet).

The all-time Olympic record for the pole vault is 6.03 meters (19 feet & 9.25 inches) which was set in 2016, set by Thiago Braz de Silva  (nearly double of William Hoyt).

The Six Basic Parts Of The Technique Are:

  • Approach
  • Plant and take-off
  • Swing up
  • Extension
  • Turn
  • Fly-away

Each pole is related to the competitor’s body weight and is designed and manufactured to flex at the same displacement as other poles of different weights.

It is a foul or failed attempt if the pole dislodges the horizontal crossbar even if the jumper has cleared the bar successfully.

If the pole breaks, the jumper is not credited with a failed jump but is allowed to vault using another pole.

The vaulter has a set amount of time to execute the jump.

A professional vaulter may carry as many as 10 or more poles with him to competition.

The pole length generally ranges between 10 and 18 feet.

Again, just like the high jump, speed matters.  The jumper converts the ground speed into vertical motion.

“Poles” have gone from “ash wood” to bamboo, to fiberglass and now to carbon fiber, which has radically changed the flexing of the pole and the resulting heights of the world records —

“In modern pole vaulting, an extremely important part of the vault undoubtedly involves the pole. The vaulter relies on the pole to absorb as much energy as possible and then transfer that energy back to vault him into the air as high as possible. The more efficiently the pole can absorb and transfer this kinetic energy, the higher a vaulter can travel. Thus, due to the significant effect of pole efficiency on vault height, engineers and scientists have researched and developed new materials and technologies for poles.

. . . the introduction of the bamboo pole in the early 1900s and the subsequent introduction of the glass-fiber pole in the early 1960s, Olympic vault heights increased more dramatically in the years following. The ideal situation is to use a pole that will transfer energy with 100% efficiency. Realistically, however, this goal is unreachable due to imperfections in materials (from a visible crack all the way down to a fault at the microscopic level) and limitations on the physical properties of materials. Nonetheless, due to extensive research and testing, modern poles have come as close to near perfect efficiency as technology will allow today.

Additional properties of the pole that play a role in the vault are the pole’s responsiveness and weight. Newer materials respond more adeptly to bending and spring back to their unbent positions more quickly and with more force, thus “throwing” the vaulter higher, farther, and faster. The weight of the pole also affects the vault, as lighter poles allow the athlete to sprint faster and complete the plant with ease, while heavier ones require more effort. Evolutions in pole technology thus allow athletes to fly to incredible heights never imagined when the sport was invented. The evolution of materials from hardwood, to bamboo, and finally to fiberglass and carbon fiber, validates the strong influence of material properties on the success of the vault.”



1942 — bamboo — 4.77 meters (15.64 feet)

1956 — fiberglass – 4.86 meters (15.94 feet)

Today — fiberglass and carbon fiber


Key Illustrative Thoughts:

• standing high jump: It takes pure human effort
• reaching higher levels
• It will take more than human effort to reach those heights.
• spiritual high jumpers
• two kinds of jumpers
• Higher: Try pole vaulting.
• can not reach that height without some help / aid / spiritual devices
• jumping in the flesh
• New Year’s “standing high jump” resolutions
• been “standing high jumping” for too many years
• You need to use the “pole” God has provided to reach those heights.
• something you can put your weight on that can and will lift you above that bar
• A Variety Of “Biblical Poles”: prayer / Bible reading / fasting / obedience
• incredible heights — unimagined by Old Testament saints
• “poles” which transfers energy
• “His pole” never breaks, but it does flex.
• the approach
• “The Fosbury Flop” — your back is towards the world
• spiritual momentum transferred into vertical height
• God’s provisions for victory over ________.




Other Information & Links

“In the run up phase we are dealing with horizontal velocity because the jumper is running horizontally toward the bar, and this horizontal velocity will prove to be important later on because it will be converted into vertical velocity enabling the jumper to go up and clear the bar.” —


“Pole-vaulting was not one of the original Olympic sports in ancient Greece. Some think that the sport was derived from the Dutch habit of dyke-jumping, although one of the earliest pole-vaulting stands was built in Germany in 1791. The objective is, obviously, to get the athlete’s centre of mass over the highest bar possible. However, today’s pole-vaulters use a quite different technique to that used 100 years ago, when athletes went over the bar with their feet pointing downwards. Athletes now do a complex gymnastic manoeuvre, turning upside down as the jump takes place.” —

Click to access 2007NPEP-McGinnis.pdf

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