Seldom has a pole been so thoroughly inspected as in the case of Hiroki Ogita, a Japanese pole vaulter. The 28-year-old was, alas, sent home without a medal when he inadvertently dislodged a bar with a particularly unfortunate part of his body.
In reviewing the footage, it’s difficult to say exactly what caused the bar to fall. The facts that we have are these: he was knocked out in the qualifying rounds when attempting to vault a bar about 17 feet above the ground. A few parts of his body seem to have contact the bar — first his leg, then the region below his waist, and then finally his arm.
Was it the arm that dislodged the bar? Or was it a different protuberance? The slow-motion footage shows a rather painful-looking flapping in his pants that slaps against the bar. We’ve watched it over and over and over (and over and over) and while it’s clear that his arm makes the most dramatic contact, there’s a particularly dramatic contact with his midsection before the arm becomes involved.
Take a look for yourself below (or here if the embed isn’t working):
The whole thing looks pretty painful, and the look on his face seems to bear out that he is experiencing a rather intimate pain.
To be fair, Ogita’s jumps are pretty remarkable: he made it up to 17.8 feet on a subsequent attempt, easily clearing the bar. But that still wasn’t good enough, and he wound up in 21st place.
If it’s any consolation, though, he’s first place in our hearts today. Alas, poor pole vaulters — sometimes they can’t seem to catch a break. Sure are nice to look at, though.