24 May, 2016

Oslo: Pole Vaulters To Rule The Air

  • Renaud Lavillenie - © Giancarlo Colombo

The pole vault competition at this year's ExxonMobil Bislett Games on 9 June promises to be one of the most eagerly anticipated encounters of the IAAF Diamond League season

It will be the ultimate confrontation of athlete against athlete at many levels:

Renaud Lavillenie, the Olympic champion
Vs.
Shawn Barber, the World champion

European technique and preparation (consistently jumping throughout the “off season”)
Vs.
Traditional American style (periodization developing individual facets of the jump – approach, take off, etc.)

France
Vs.
Canada (which was once a colony of Imperial France )

Lavillenie is the reigning Olympic champion and World record holder, who dominated the event until late last season when he first encountered the “rookie” Canadian student Shawn Barber. It was in London's Diamond League meeting, and although the Frenchman prevailed in the competition with a magnificent vault of 6.03m, Barber showed with his own personal best of 5.93m on that day that he was going to be no “easy beat” at the World Championships.

Subsequently Barber won the World Championships in Beijing, with a clearance of 5.90m, thus establishing a competitive rivalry with the Frenchman that is bound to bring the best out of both athletes.

During the indoor season he managed to clear 6m for the first time – the acceptable high standard for a quality vaulter.

Renaud Lavillenie returned to his winning ways when he beat Barber to capture the World Indoor title in Portland. Again the Frenchman was in imperious form with another 6m clearance to restore his honour. However, more recently Barber has shown great early season form winning the Pole Vault summit meet in Austin, Texas with what was a World leading 5.91m to show that his intentions are very pronounced in regard to this season and the Olympics in Rio.

Lavillenie is also looking forward to Rio and defending his Olympic title. Potentially achieving a feat that has only previously been done by one athlete, the USA's Rev. Bob Richards who took the Olympic pole vault titles in1952 and 1956.

However, before these two combatants face the challenge of Rio, they will face off in Oslo's Bislett stadium in a preview of the Olympic competition.

 

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ExxonMobil Bislett Games