For what is a long and flexible pole used in pole vaulting?
Pole vaulting, also known as pole jumping, is a track and field event in which an athlete uses a long and flexible pole, usually made from fiberglass or carbon fiber, as an aid to jump over a bar. Pole jumping competitions were known to the Mycenaean Greeks, Minoan Greeks and Celts. It has been a full medal event at the Olympic Games since 1896 for men and since 2000 for women.
It is typically classified as one of the four major jumping events in athletics, alongside the high jump, long jump and triple jump. The object of pole vaulting is to clear a bar or crossbar supported upon two uprights (standards) without knocking it down.
Poles were used as a practical means of passing over natural obstacles in marshy places such as the province of Friesland in the Netherlands, along the North Sea, and the great level of the Fens in England across Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk. Artificial draining of these marshes created a network of open drains or canals intersecting each other. To cross these without getting soaked, while avoiding tedious roundabout journeys over bridges, a stack of jumping poles was kept at every house and used for vaulting over the canals.
Today, athletes compete in the pole vault as one of the four jumping events in track and field. Because the high jump and pole vault are both vertical jumps, the competitions are conducted similarly. Each athlete can choose what height they would like to enter the competition.