The 20' (and beyond) PV


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The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby Marlow » Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:05 am

Home-page-linked article about the slow-down in progress in the event and the possibility that only new pole technology can revive it.

Some observations:

1. Bubka 'ruined' the event (and, to some degree, Isi has done the same) because he was too fast, too strong, and too technically proficient. He 'Beamon'ed . . . 'Bolt'ed the event.
2. The pegs are now shorter.
3. The crossbar is semi-circular, so it now rolls off if nudged.
4. The event is expensive (and 'dangerous'), so fewer opportunities to learn the event are available.
5. 'Daring' athletes have many other new (extreme) sports to pursue.

I think that while most new technology is constantly being developed, there are limits to how much energy a vaulter can store in the pole and how efficiently it can be returned. The carbon-weave pole is almost there. Yes, the pole can get lighter and slimmer, but that's not really a sticking point now. Have we really reached a limiting plateau? Athletes WILL get faster and stronger, so yes, the record will eventually be broken, but I sure don't see 21' in a long, long time.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby meskind » Sun Oct 21, 2012 12:31 pm

Marlow wrote:Home-page-linked article about the slow-down in progress in the event and the possibility that only new pole technology can revive it.

Some observations:

1. Bubka 'ruined' the event (and, to some degree, Isi has done the same) because he was too fast, too strong, and too technically proficient. He 'Beamon'ed . . . 'Bolt'ed the event.
2. The pegs are now shorter.
3. The crossbar is semi-circular, so it now rolls off if nudged.

4. The event is expensive (and 'dangerous'), so fewer opportunities to learn the event are available.
5. 'Daring' athletes have many other new (extreme) sports to pursue.

I think that while most new technology is constantly being developed, there are limits to how much energy a vaulter can store in the pole and how efficiently it can be returned. The carbon-weave pole is almost there. Yes, the pole can get lighter and slimmer, but that's not really a sticking point now. Have we really reached a limiting plateau? Athletes WILL get faster and stronger, so yes, the record will eventually be broken, but I sure don't see 21' in a long, long time.



Points #2 and #3 are really at the heart of the matter. With these two changes it's almost like a new event. With the shorter pegs and rounded edges you have to be much cleaner at the bar. I bet if you polled a bunch of elite male vaulters, they would say the same.

The women's side is different as they don't have the same history with the older pegs and crossbars.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby dukehjsteve » Sun Oct 21, 2012 12:53 pm

I've said it before but I will say it again, even though everyone ( here) disagrees with me, and I will even capitalize it:

The FIBERGLASS POLE ruined the Pole Vault. The event was reasonably pure but it became artificial.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby Marlow » Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:03 pm

dukehjsteve wrote:I've said it before but I will say it again, even though everyone ( here) disagrees with me, and I will even capitalize it:
The FIBERGLASS POLE ruined the Pole Vault. The event was reasonably pure but it became artificial.

You DO see your chronocentric perspective, yes? If you had been born 10 years later, you would not think that. I think fiberglass BEAUTIFIED it.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby lonewolf » Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:46 pm

Beautified, yes, but imo records should be specific for wood/bamboo/steel/fiberglass (if they are not already).
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby Marlow » Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:52 pm

lonewolf wrote:records should be specific for wood/bamboo/steel/fiberglass (if they are not already).

Agreed.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby dukehjsteve » Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:10 pm

Marlow wrote:
dukehjsteve wrote:I've said it before but I will say it again, even though everyone ( here) disagrees with me, and I will even capitalize it:
The FIBERGLASS POLE ruined the Pole Vault. The event was reasonably pure but it became artificial.

You DO see your chronocentric perspective, yes? If you had been born 10 years later, you would not think that. I think fiberglass BEAUTIFIED it.



With modern technology, I bet we could even add a battery driven rocket to the bottom of the pole, so that we could artificially propel the vaulters even higher. Maybe 30 feet ! Maybe 40 feet ! Maybe into orbit !

But at least I've learned a new word: "chronocentric."
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby Marlow » Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:19 pm

dukehjsteve wrote:With modern technology, I bet we could even add a battery driven rocket to the bottom of the pole, so that we could artificially propel the vaulters even higher. Maybe 30 feet ! Maybe 40 feet ! Maybe into orbit !
But at least I've learned a new word: "chronocentric."

Fiberglass was NOT against the rules. I'm pretty sure what you propose would be. :wink:
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby Dave » Sun Oct 21, 2012 4:49 pm

Marlow wrote:4. The event is expensive (and 'dangerous'), so fewer opportunities to learn the event are available.


Marlow, you are are HS coach. How big a deal is the expense today?

I was a HS vaulter in the early 70's and in my school, we were definitely constrained by the cost of poles. In other schools, there seemed to be more poles available.

How big a deal is the threat of injury? This was always a dangerous sport though less so than football.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby Marlow » Sun Oct 21, 2012 4:58 pm

Dave wrote:Marlow, you are are HS coach. How big a deal is the expense today?
I was a HS vaulter in the early 70's and in my school, we were definitely constrained by the cost of poles. In other schools, there seemed to be more poles available.
How big a deal is the threat of injury? This was always a dangerous sport though less so than football.

I am very fortunate. I have been coaching here for 20 years, so I have a pole inventory that many college would be envious of: almost 40 poles, from a 10'/70 to a 15'/200! But poles do typically run in the $500 range with shipping, so it's nothing to sneeze at!
In my 20 years, my biggest injury has been a rolled ankle from landing standing up (huge no-no!). I bought helmets, but have never had to use them cuz I smack down boys who are trying to be macho and jump on poles they shouldn't. In meets I have had to 'DQ' opponents who vault unsafely. Every single one of their coaches (if they had one! :( ) thanked me for that.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby j-a-m » Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:24 am

dukehjsteve wrote:The FIBERGLASS POLE ruined the Pole Vault. The event was reasonably pure but it became artificial.

Do you also believe Mondo ruined the sprints?
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby j-a-m » Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:25 am

Marlow wrote:He 'Beamon'ed . . . 'Bolt'ed the event.

Except he "beamonized" it dozens of times, not just once. Edit: Pretty sure the word is "beamonized", while "beamoned" would be british english at best ...
Last edited by j-a-m on Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby j-a-m » Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:26 am

meskind wrote:Points #2 and #3 are really at the heart of the matter. With these two changes it's almost like a new event. With the shorter pegs and rounded edges you have to be much cleaner at the bar. I bet if you polled a bunch of elite male vaulters, they would say the same.

Yeah, that plays a significant role.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby Cooter Brown » Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:56 am

With current technology, the one rule that would improve results would be to deepen the box from 8" to 10"-12" and increase the angle of the back of the box. That would increase the takeoff angle, shorten the distance to vertical, and for experienced vaulters allow grips to rise at least 6" if not more. Even without raising the grip, moving the pole to vertical would be much faster and easier and would result in more energy through the swing and at the top of the vault. You'd see a lot better and consistent results even with the loss of 2"-4" due to the deeper box.

The problem is that inexperienced vaulters would use it solely as a reason for raising their grips which could lead to more accidents.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby Marlow » Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:06 am

Cooter Brown wrote:the one rule that would improve results would be to deepen the box from 8" to 10"-12" and increase the angle of the back of the box. You'd see a lot better and consistent results even with the loss of 2"-4" due to the deeper box.

Occasionally we go to a meet with a 'deep box' (typically due to a runway resurfacing that built it up 1 or 2 inches higher than the top of the box) and all our regular poles are too soft. If we are forewarned (which we usually are), we bring the bigger sticks and do indeed enjoy great jumping.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby dukehjsteve » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:29 am

j-a-m wrote:
dukehjsteve wrote:The FIBERGLASS POLE ruined the Pole Vault. The event was reasonably pure but it became artificial.

Do you also believe Mondo ruined the sprints?



No, I do not. Just a faster surface that is weather impervious. A good change.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby Marlow » Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:44 am

dukehjsteve wrote:
j-a-m wrote:
dukehjsteve wrote:The FIBERGLASS POLE ruined the Pole Vault. The event was reasonably pure but it became artificial.

Do you also believe Mondo ruined the sprints?

No, I do not. Just a faster surface that is weather impervious. A good change.

But certainly Fosbury will have to burn in Hades forever, right?! :wink:
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby Dave » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:25 am

what of the guy/company(cause corporations are people, my friends) who created modern pits?

No way we would have 6.14 wr in PV or 2.45 wr in HJ with a sand or sawdust pit.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby dukehjsteve » Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:51 am

Marlow wrote:
dukehjsteve wrote:
j-a-m wrote:
dukehjsteve wrote:The FIBERGLASS POLE ruined the Pole Vault. The event was reasonably pure but it became artificial.

Do you also believe Mondo ruined the sprints?

No, I do not. Just a faster surface that is weather impervious. A good change.

But certainly Fosbury will have to burn in Hades forever, right?! :wink:


I have no issue with the Flop other than I think the Straddle was a thing of beauty.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby Marlow » Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:41 pm

dukehjsteve wrote:I think the Straddle was a thing of beauty.

Again, perception being reality, I see fb PVing as beautiful and the straddle slow and ungainly.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby polevaultpower » Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:44 pm

Dave wrote:what of the guy/company(cause corporations are people, my friends) who created modern pits?

No way we would have 6.14 wr in PV or 2.45 wr in HJ with a sand or sawdust pit.


That was less about one track person being innovative and more about the sport making use of the new technology of foam rubber.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby kuha » Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:32 pm

Marlow wrote:
dukehjsteve wrote:I think the Straddle was a thing of beauty.

Again, perception being reality, I see fb PVing as beautiful and the straddle slow and ungainly.


I have a sleek, fast, and beautiful pig in a poke to sell you. Credit cards will be accepted.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby Marlow » Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:35 pm

kuha wrote:I have a sleek, fast, and beautiful pig in a poke

You . . . and your sleek, beautiful pig . . . poking . . . um . . . ewww?
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby kuha » Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:40 pm

Marlow wrote:
kuha wrote:I have a sleek, fast, and beautiful pig in a poke

You . . . and your sleek, beautiful pig . . . poking . . . um . . . ewww?


Don't think too deeply about this. Just sign the dang contract.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby Marlow » Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:49 pm

kuha wrote:
Marlow wrote:
kuha wrote:I have a sleek, fast, and beautiful pig in a poke

You . . . and your sleek, beautiful pig . . . poking . . . um . . . ewww?

Don't think too deeply about this. Just sign the dang contract.

Yessir . . . :oops:
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby Dave » Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:16 pm

polevaultpower wrote:
Dave wrote:what of the guy/company(cause corporations are people, my friends) who created modern pits?

No way we would have 6.14 wr in PV or 2.45 wr in HJ with a sand or sawdust pit.


That was less about one track person being innovative and more about the sport making use of the new technology of foam rubber.


I'd be curious to know the details of the first fiberglass poles. It would be interesting to know what made the guy who created the first one think it would be a good idea.

Likewise, someone had to figure out that a pile of foam rubber scraps was a lot safer to land in than sawdust.

Oddly enough, I have a feeling that both inventions happened at nearly the same time. I have never seen a video of a fiberglass vaulter landing in a sand/sawdust pit nor have I seen one of a straight pole vaulter land in a foam rubber pit(this feels more likely though).

[edit] Here is a reference to using a foam rubber pit in 1960: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1 ... 89,3732022
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby Per Andersen » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:17 pm

Dave wrote:

Oddly enough, I have a feeling that both inventions happened at nearly the same time. I have never seen a video of a fiberglass vaulter landing in a sand/sawdust pit nor have I seen one of a straight pole vaulter land in a foam rubber pit(this feels more likely though).

[edit] Here is a reference to using a foam rubber pit in 1960: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1 ... 89,3732022

George Roubanis used a fiberglass pole in Melbourne '56. He set a big PR and won bronze at 14-9 (4.50) in a sand/sawdust pit. But you could still land on your feet on those heights.
I suppose George Davies, another early fiberglass vaulter, might have landed in sawdust around 1960.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby Cooter Brown » Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:38 am

Dave wrote:I'd be curious to know the details of the first fiberglass poles. It would be interesting to know what made the guy who created the first one think it would be a good idea.


Probably, the impetus was a search for lighter materials. Not the first, but an early pole maker was Shakespeare who was and is known for fishing poles and saw another market for their fiberglass. Early on, fiberglass electrical conduit was sometimes used also, specifically for a homemade solution for vaulting poles. Odds are strong that the first fiberglass poles put on the market were not purpose built.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby Marlow » Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:49 am

Cooter Brown wrote:
Dave wrote:I'd be curious to know the details of the first fiberglass poles. It would be interesting to know what made the guy who created the first one think it would be a good idea.

Probably, the impetus was a search for lighter materials. Not the first, but an early pole maker was Shakespeare who was and is known for fishing poles and saw another market for their fiberglass. Early on, fiberglass electrical conduit was sometimes used also, specifically for a homemade solution for vaulting poles. Odds are strong that the first fiberglass poles put on the market were not purpose built.

What I want to know, and have never read anything about, is how and who figured out how to properly bend the pole and use its rebound to go higher. The technique is NOT the same between straight-vaulting and fb-vaulting. I had to completely relearn how to vault when I started masters vaulting with fiberglass. When you look back at Pennel, he had already discovered and mastered the technique necessary to utilize the pole's bend.
Here he is in 1963

http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675 ... ps-17-feet
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby tandfman » Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:52 am

Cooter Brown wrote:Probably, the impetus was a search for lighter materials. Not the first, but an early pole maker was Shakespeare . . .

Are you sure it wasn't Francis Bacon? :)
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby kuha » Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:06 am



Wow was he good.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby Cooter Brown » Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:46 am

Pennel is the most underrated vaulter, IMO.

He set his first WR at 5.13m (16-10ish) and his last at 5.44m (17-10 1/4). That's Bubkaesque in the difference between 1st and last WRs.


EDIT...just reading up on it and he had unratified WR's of 4.95, 4.98, 5.05, and 5.10.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby dukehjsteve » Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:08 pm

Cooter Brown wrote:Pennel is the most underrated vaulter, IMO.

He set his first WR at 5.13m (16-10ish) and his last at 5.44m (17-10 1/4). That's Bubkaesque in the difference between 1st and last WRs.


EDIT...just reading up on it and he had unratified WR's of 4.95, 4.98, 5.05, and 5.10.


I well remember 1963's Florida Relays as I was out on the field for the ( of course) HJ which was being contested simultaneously with the PV, starring, you guessed it, John Pennel, He won easily and took 3 good efforts at a WR of about 4.90/16'1". I got right up close to him on the runway and took a good picture. Neat looking yellow NE Louisiana jersey.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby kuha » Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:46 pm

Cooter Brown wrote:He set his first WR at 5.13m (16-10ish) and his last at 5.44m (17-10 1/4). That's Bubkaesque in the difference between 1st and last WRs.


One foot: amazingly impressive
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby gh » Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:23 pm

Not to disaparage a fine athlete whose competitive record to speak for itself, but "Bubkaesque"?!

Given that the rest of the world was rising right with him the whole time, seems pretty clear to me that the combination of people learning how to vault with a different style combined with rapid improvements in pole design probably contributed to nearly all the rise.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby Dave » Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:53 pm

gh wrote:Not to disaparage a fine athlete whose competitive record to speak for itself, but "Bubkaesque"?!

Given that the rest of the world was rising right with him the whole time, seems pretty clear to me that the combination of people learning how to vault with a different style combined with rapid improvements in pole design probably contributed to nearly all the rise.


Agreed. Not only was the rest of the world improving with him as they all learned to use the new technology, the record continued to be raised regularly after he retired.

Now, we are almost 20 years after Bubka retired and he still owns all jumps over 6.06 and a huge percentage of the jumps over 6.01.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby 26mi235 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:46 pm

Maybe you could get Ron Morris to comment on this. He was a very early fiberglass star (second to 16 and silver at Rome?). I am partial because he was my coach for a track and field class at Cal State LA and sparked my interest in the sport. I think he has been involved with equipment over the last couple of decades and probably has insight that few can match. Of course, he is in his mid-70s now, so I do not know how active he is...
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby polevaultpower » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:45 pm

26mi235 wrote: Of course, he is in his mid-70s now, so I do not know how active he is...


I see him at least once a year at the Pole Vault Summit and he's fantastic every time I see him. Hopefully he has many years of good health ahead of him!
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby Per Andersen » Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:08 pm

Marlow wrote:What I want to know, and have never read anything about, is how and who figured out how to properly bend the pole and use its rebound to go higher. The technique is NOT the same between straight-vaulting and fb-vaulting. I had to completely relearn how to vault when I started masters vaulting with fiberglass. When you look back at Pennel, he had already discovered and mastered the technique necessary to utilize the pole's bend.
Here he is in 1963


Maybe Pennel is the answer.
I think Dave Tork bent the pole more than Uelses. Tork had a good bend but not close to Pennel.
Not sure about Pentti Nikula ( the WR holder after Tork in 1962).
Both Uelses and Tork used the "spread hands grip" at take-off, as opposed to the "hands together grip" used by the metal/steel vaulters.
Would be interesting to know how George Davies and Ron Morris gripped the pole at take-off.
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Re: The 20' (and beyond) PV

Postby Dave » Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:34 pm

Marlow wrote:
Cooter Brown wrote:
Dave wrote:I'd be curious to know the details of the first fiberglass poles. It would be interesting to know what made the guy who created the first one think it would be a good idea.

Probably, the impetus was a search for lighter materials. Not the first, but an early pole maker was Shakespeare who was and is known for fishing poles and saw another market for their fiberglass. Early on, fiberglass electrical conduit was sometimes used also, specifically for a homemade solution for vaulting poles. Odds are strong that the first fiberglass poles put on the market were not purpose built.

What I want to know, and have never read anything about, is how and who figured out how to properly bend the pole and use its rebound to go higher. The technique is NOT the same between straight-vaulting and fb-vaulting. I had to completely relearn how to vault when I started masters vaulting with fiberglass. When you look back at Pennel, he had already discovered and mastered the technique necessary to utilize the pole's bend.
Here he is in 1963

http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675 ... ps-17-feet


This is well off topic, but ....

I looked at three different recordings on that site: Pennel, Uselses, and Richards.

Pennel looks a lot like a modern vaulter. And if that jump was really at 17', he should have gotten 17'6 that day.

Uselses clearing 16' looked a lot more like a straight pole vaulter than a modern vaulter. I didn't look really carefully, but it didn't look like he had a lot of pushoff. His biggest gain was from a higher handhold rather than any sort of released energy from the pole pushing him up. He also landed in a sawdust pit. That looked pretty frightening.

Finally, Richards was a classic straight pole vaulter and again, that sawdust looked pretty scary.
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