You would think that if you were an Olympic athlete you could fleet through airport security, fly on a G6 and walk on clouds 'til you reach Olympic Park. Not exactly true! For pole vaulters, it's a pain in the arse to travel because of, well, their gigantic poles.
It's just not easy to move something that's 5m long and worth thousands of dollars. Pole vaulters are wary of shipping companies because they have to part with their poles super early and also because of the horror stories of cracked and broken poles. Going with the airlines is a crap shoot too, sometimes airline employees let them on, other times the pole vaulter is left with five bags of poles that the New York Times says looks "like something a giant might use to carry his skis". Even if the poles do get on, the athletes have to sometimes fork over ridiculous fees that can run as high as $US750. It's not fun being a pole vaulter on the go, no other Olympic athlete has to worry about tools bigger than themselves.
But many pole vaulters have faced the worst case scenario of ditching their poles at the airport and borrowing poles from the event. The pole vaulters don't usually do so well when that happens, as you would imagine. So is there a tried and true method of transporting pole vaults? What's surprising is well, there isn't. You just hope for the best. Read the whole interesting story at the Times. [NY Times]