Shawn Barber Strikes Gold! 20 Year Old Canadian Wins World Championship Pole Vault Crown by Dave Hunter

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Barber_ShawnQ-World15.JPgShawn Barber, photo by PhotoRun.net

Shawn Barber had a night that could only be described as "magical." In observing Barber this summer, his modus operandi is consistent clearances, starting at 5.50m and then, first clearance, up to the final attempts. Last night, his 5.50m, 5.65m, 5.80m, 5.90m, all on first attempts had him defeat the WR holder, Renaud Lavillenie, and 2013 WC Raphael Holzdeppe.

Here is fellow Zip, University of Akron's very own David Hunter, on Shawn Barber!

15th IAAF World Championships In Athletics / Squawks From The Bird's Nest

Shawn Barber Strikes Gold!
20 Year Old Canadian Wins World Championship Pole Vault Crown

August 24th, 2015
Beijing, China

Shawnacy Barber, unflappable on the biggest of stages, won the men's pole vault at the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championship today in Beijing. Performing before a near capacity crowd in the Bird's Nest, the Canadian and United States high school pole vault record holder jumped flawlessly from the beginning. From the opening height, the NCAA collegiate indoor record holder proceeded to make first attempt clearances at 5.50m/18'½", 5.65m/18'6½", and 5.80m/19'¼", while most of the other 15 finalists accumulated missed attempts and ultimately fell by the wayside. Only six competitor - Barber; Piotr Lisek and Pawel Wojciechowski from Poland; France's Kevin Menaldo and Renaud Lavillenie [the indoor world record holder and reigning Olympic champion] and the defending world champion Raphael Holzdeppe - remained when the bar went up to 5.90m/19'4¼ " After yet another first attempt clearance, Barber - University of Akron junior whose dual citizenship allows him to compete internationally for Canada - stood by and watched the two Poles and the two French athletes go three and out. Only a third attempt clearance by defending world champion Holzdeppe kept the competition alive. With the Bowerman finalist in first place and pitching a perfect game, the bar went up to 6.00m / 19'8¼" - the mystical barrier only ever cleared - indoor or out - by just 18 men. Jumping first, Barber had no close attempts at the iconic height. The German athlete struggled as well. After missing his third and final attempt at 6 meters, the 3-time NCAA champion stood anxiously by to watch Holzdeppe's final attempt which - if cleared - would give the German the win. When the defending champion dislodged the bar, the gold went to Barber.

In addressing the media, the new world champion, spoke widely on a variety of topics. His consistency: "I was very fortunate to be very consistent throughout the competition. And that was the name of the game. I came in knowing that it was going to be a meet coming down to first attempts like that. I couldn't have asked for a better competition." The pressure of a world championship final: "Of course you're going to have nerves going into a big meet like this. But my whole goal is to keep my head down and make sure I remember to breathe. That's the biggest thing for me: have some fun out there, you know. Enjoy yourself." On Lavillenie's single clearance: "I think he was very confident coming into this meet. But it is always easier to chase than to be chased. I know he didn't have the meet he was expecting or wanting. And I think that will just make him hungrier for the next time." His thoughts as Holzdeppe attempted his final jump to snatch the victory: "I knew that whatever happened, I was already on the podium. And I couldn't say anything against that. So I was very happy the way the whole meet went. And if he [Holzdeppe] would jump 6 meters, he was more than welcome to the top of the podium. He's a great athlete and I didn't put it past him."

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Dave Hunter, who ran his marathon P.R. of 2:31:40 on the highly revered Boston Marathon course back in the Paleozoic era, is a track and field announcer, broadcaster, and journalist. To find out more about Dave, please visit www.trackandfieldhunter.com.

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