It takes a special kind of person just to have the nerve to attempt pole vaulting.
While it’s a spectacular sport, it has the potential for things to go horribly wrong and when they do, you can be 18 feet in the air.
That’s a long way to fall.
Sometimes, however, things can go wrong at a much lower level, but strangely the danger level when this happens is actually much greater.
A pole snap is one of the great fears of pole vaulters. When they let go, shards of fibreglass or carbon fibre fly around and jagged pole ends are left exposed.
Worse still, the snap invariably occurs when the pole is under the greatest load—when the athlete is inverted and heading upwards.
The result is an upside down athlete no longer going upwards, but still traveling forward to land on their head and neck—hopefully on the landing bag.
And hopefully not on bits of broken pole.
Cuban vaulter, Lazaro Borges suffered this fate during a strange qualifying session at the London Games.
Fortunately, Borges was unhurt, but he was unable to recover to qualify for Friday’s final.
While Borges' exploits were spectacular (you can see it in more detail here), the rest of the vaulters seemed to go on strike, refusing to jump to allow a bigger field through to the final.
While it’s unclear what actually eventuated—there was much referring to clipboards and discussions with coaches.
It is clear that no one actually achieved the automatic qualifying height and there will now be 14 men in the final instead of the 12 that were supposed to go through according to ABC Australia.
Australia Steve Hooker, who was at the centre of the discussions is reported in the same article as saying,
We decided if we work together we would all be going to the final and saved a bit energy for Friday, I didn't want to have to jump again if I didn't have to.
Very strange, here we were thinking that was the only reason they came!!