Thursday, August 05, 2021

Pole Vault Live Blogging

As I write this I'm watching the women's pole vault final in the Olympics. Of the 15 women who made the finals, only four remain after two heights.

To expand on my tweet, I find the pole vault the purest of the Olympic Sports. No electronic monitors and timers, no biased judges, no video review. No points deducted for bad form or failing to stick the landing. No disqualification for a false start or stepping over a line. Either you clear the bar without knocking it down, or you don't.

The high jump has similar properties, but just not as cool looking.

All four made the third height. Now onto 4.85 meters. An American, a Greek, a Brit and a Russian (sorry I meant member of the Russian Olympic Committee).

Back in the day, the TV coverage was rather limited. We'd only see the Americans and the medal winners with too much time spend on human interest backgrounds. Now in the streaming world I can watch every competitor. The good and the bad. Live as it happens.

The Russian Anzhelika Sidorova just cleared 4.85 on her first attempt. So did the Brit Holly Bradshaw and the American Katie Nageotte. The Greek Katerina Stefanidi missed her first attempt but decided to pass on the rest. All now go to 4.90 but Stefanidi only gets two attempts while the rest get three.

Stefanidi missed her first attempt at 4.90. She gets one attempt left.

Sidorova and Bradshaw fail to even reach the bar. Nageotte can't clear the bar.

Now the moment that means everything for Stefanidi. Her last attempt. Make it or the rest get the medals. Stefaidi fails to get a good plant and doesn't get into the air at all. Her Olympics are over.

Second attempt for the others. Sidorva and Bardshaw knock down the bar. Nageotte clears the bar, putting her in prime position. Go USA!

Imagine if we judged research papers this way. Either they get into a conference or they don't. Wait, that is they way they happen, although not always without biased judging.

Sidorova is passing on her last attempt at 4.90. Bradshaw goes for it but hits the bar. She has to settle for Bronze.

Bar is now at 4.95 meters. 

Sidorova gets only one attempt at 4.95. If she makes it, she takes the lead, if she misses, she gets the silver. 

Sidorova doesn't clear and the gold goes to the American Katie Nageotte! 

Just for excitement Nageotte is going for 5.01 meters, which would be her first over five meters in competition. In the men's pole vault, the Swede Armand Duplantis (great pole vault name!) easily won the gold. He moved the bar to 6.19 meters to break his own world record. Came all so close in his first attempt but failed to clear. 

Nageotte is just too excited winning the gold to focus enough to make a serious attempt at 5.01. Can't blame her.

Thus ends the best sport in the Olympics.


  1. You forgot to mention that Stefanidi won the gold medal at the last Olympics, which added to the drama.

  2. I'd argue that though discus throw has rules about where you can stand it is as pure or more. With pole vault, advances in technology of the poles had changed the sport greatly.

  3. There are a bunch of rules that can disqualify a pole vault: using an uncertified pole, too much tape on pole, moving bottom hand over top hand while vaulting, placing hand higher than top-most hand-hold position, using wrong pole in relation to weight of athlete, stabilizing the bar while vaulting, and exceeding allotted time limit to vault. Of course, world-class pole vaulters rarely violate any of these. But I'd argue that high jump is purer - main violations are taking off on two feet and exceeding allotted time to jump.