One of the events that has saved track & field is the women’s pole vault. Fans love the event everywhere it is held. The excitement of clearances, the speed and the immediate celebration of athletes as they clear heights allows fans to get involved with the event.
The women’s pole vault was ridiculed, like the women’s steeplechase, when it first started. From nearly the very start, both events were quite popular. In 1991, I recieved a letter of chastisement to our then pub, American Athletics, on the pole vault. The writer noted, “you show the steeplechase on the cover today, what’s next, the women’s pole vault?”
The success of the women’s pole vault is now that the event has been embraced with global enthusiasm. The athleticism, the speed, the excitement of the athletes and the personalities of the athletes all shine through. Such was the case at the London World Championships, with 35,000 watching during qualifying and 55,000 at the final.
Ekaterina Stefanidi was about to quit the sport a few years ago, but she held on, and is now the finest pole vaulter in the world, taking gold in London at 4.91 meters, a Greek NR. Sandi Morris cleared five meters in 2016, and has won World Indoor, Olympic and World outdoor silver medals in the last two years. In London, she battled Ekaterina Stefeanidi, taking the silver, at 4.75 meters. Robeilys Peinado, Venezuala picked the right day and right time to set a NR of 4.65 meters, tying with former World Champion Yarislays Silva, Cuba, at 4.65 meters.
The presser was relaxed, with some good points made by Stefanidi and Morris.