They’ve been pole vaulting at the Olympics since 1896. Actually, that’s true for the men. The women only began competing in 2000. That means our forefathers missed out on seeing some amazingly toned gals leaping the bars in amazing displays of athleticism.
We’re a lot more fortunate today. This year’s Games has an awesome selection of gals ready to launch themselves into the history books. We’ve got some pics of them that’ll get you launching for joy—but don’t stop there. Try to pace yourself as you also race over to check out the USA Soccer Team and our favorite synchronized swimmers!
She won a bronze medal at the 2010 European Athletics Championships, which was a real comeback for this 23-year-old German athlete. Lisa doesn’t have much hype as a contender at this year’s Games, but she’s still got plenty of dedicated fans in her homeland and in this office.
At 30 years old, Yelena is a real veteran—and already has two gold medals from the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games. She’s taken some breaks in her career, but nobody’s doubting that this Russian gal is still real competition. People go absolutely wild for her butt… Just sayin’.
She first made her mark while wining the pole vault competition at the first Summer Youth Olympics in 2010. Angelica’s grown into a real champion, and the 21-year-old Swedish beauty is hitting the Games after coming in first at this year’s World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain.
It’s been a few years since this Finnish femme has scored her personal best, and the 24-year-old is definitely a long shot at the Games. That doesn’t keep Minna from having admirers, though.
She’s been the #1 ranked American pole vaulter since 2006, and this 30-year-old has over ten U.S. National Championships. She’s looking to move up to gold after having won the silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games.
This 26-year-old from the Czech Republic looked to have peaked back in 2009—and that was after missing out on the 2008 Olympics. Now she’s a real contender after a surprising first-place show at the 2012 European Championships.
This is a big year for this Australian beauty, as she hits London while coming off her personal best in a Perth competition in February. This 28-year-old has a sister, too—who, like Alana’s parents and brother, is also a world-class athlete.
She started out as a gymnast, but young Kate took up pole vaulting in 2000. This amazing gal form Great Britain was setting records by 2002. She’s had some serious injuries over the years, but this 28-year-old is still a major contender.
This 23-year-old didn’t make any real impression when she started out competing for China in 2006. She’s been a late bloomer, though, and managed to win the gold medal at the 2009 Asian Indoor Games.
This awesome Aussie comes from a family of Olympic contenders, and won the silver medal at the 2011 World Youth Championships in Athletics. The 18-year-old comes to London right after scoring a new personal best this past February.
There aren’t many experts putting their money on this 31-year-old Polish contender. Monika has put on some very poor showings in recent years, and comes to London after coming in 13th(!) at this year’s European Championships.
Olympians don’t come any more exotic than this Irish/Mexican beauty born in California. The 25-year-old is competing for Ireland, and has set several records there since qualifying for dual citizenship in 2010.
This 25-year-old came in first at a 2009 competition in her homeland of Cuba, but hadn’t done too much in outside competitions—but Yarisley is coming to London after a 1st-place finish in the 2011 Pan American Games.
This Brazilian pole vaulter is an older competitor at the age of 31, but she’s also coming off a big win at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics.