World OutGames: Track and Field

Photo Credit: Montreal 2006 (OSA)
Pole vault is another well known sport, yet mysterious to many of us who could never quite clear that bar in high school (if we even tried). The run up begins from a standing start with the pole gradually lowered during the approach. The transfer takes place over the last two strides, ensuring that the arms lead the legs.

The take off is with as much forward speed as possible. The position of the take-off point in relation to the top hand is the one element that can determine the success of the vault. The general consensus is that the take-off foot should be located directly beneath the top hand.

Athletes then "swing and row," swinging their left leg forward and rowing their arms down, causing a double pendulum motion. They "rock back," extending their hips upward with outstretched legs so they are upside down, and then turn 180 degrees towards the pole, essentially spinning around an imaginary axis from head to toe.

Finally, the vaulter pushes off the pole and releases it, so that it falls away from the bar and the mats, then lands in the middle of the foam landing mats, preferably face up and smiling!