The physics of pole vaulting


Shawn Barber

UA pole vaulter Shawn Barber is ranked No. 2 in the nation.

Pole vaulting requires a sprinter's speed and a boxer's power — and some simple physics.

We asked UA physics student Eric Copenhaver to explain how UA pole vaulter Shawn Barber — currently ranked No. 2 in the nation — is able to leap the height of a two-story building.

Barber won the MAC outdoor championship title May 11 with a meet record jump of 17-08.50, earning him the MAC's Most Outstanding Field Performance Award.

Copenhaver also has big plans. Diploma newly in hand, he is preparing for his next stop, the Ph.D. program at the University of California, Berkeley.