Ranking the 15 best pole vaulters in the world right now

Ranking the 15 best pole vaulters in the world right now

Babu Tendu
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:22 PM

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 fibreglass or carbon fibre, as an aid to jump over a bar. Pole jumping competitions were known to the Mycenaean Greeks, Minoan Greeks and Celts. There is a list of athletes considered to be the best pole vaulters.

The best pole vaulters in the world right now
The post reveals some of the best pole vaulters in 2023 and also the best ever seen on the field. Photo by canva.com. (Modified by author).
Source: Original

The best pole vaulters are not only the ones with pinpoint accuracy but also ones with a consistency that cannot be beaten easily. They end up jumping very high to the pleasing of the audience.

Who is the best pole vaulter?

According to many internet publications, there are many talented pole vaulters and the list of the best changes with time. However, in this post, we will focus on 15 of the best as we start 2023 regarding their general performance on the vault and how they have impacted the sport.

15. Piotr Lisek

In addition to his success abroad, Piotr Lisek is the best vaulter in Poland. His first international medals were bronzes at the European and World Championships in 2015. He competed in the 2016 Olympics, won his first silver at the World Championship, and became the first Pole to clear 6 meters in the vault.

Who is the greatest pole vaulter ever
Piotr Lisek competes in the Men's Pole Vault Qualification during the European Championships Munich Athletics competition on August 18, 2022, in Munich, Germany. Photo by Matthias Hangst.
Source: Getty Images

He also became just the tenth person in the sport's history to reach that high clearance simultaneously. When Lisek reached a maximum height of 6.02 meters in 2019, he had gradually broken his record during the two years that had before it and cemented his place in history as one of the sport's finest athletes.

14. Dmitri Markov

Before winning the global championship in Edmonton in 2001, Australian Dmitri Markov, a former world champion, won a silver medal at the 1999 World Championships in Seville.

Best pole vaulter
9 Aug 2001: Dmitri Markov of Australia competes in the men's Pole Vault final to go on to win the gold medal at the 8th IAAF World Athletic Championships in Edmonton, Canada. Photo by Andy Lyons.
Source: Getty Images

He placed in the top eight in two Olympic competitions, with a personal best of fifth in 2000. Markov now holds the record for the most significant leap in Oceania with a 6.05-meter individual best. He is one of the most famous pole vaulters.

13. Jeff Hartwig

Jeff Hartwig, a native of Missouri, has maintained his level of excellence with age. Only four people have ever leapt higher inside than the 6.02 meters I set. Hartwig earned gold medals in international competition in the 1998 Goodwill Games and the 2002 IAAF Grand Prix Final.

Best pole vaulter ever
Jeff Hartwig bounds off the runway in the USA Track & Field National Pole Vault Summit at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada on Friday, January 19, 2007. Photo by Kirby Lee.
Source: Getty Images

Hartwig is still competing in the Masters class and holds the records for the highest jump for both men and women over 40 (5.86 m) and over 35 (5.86 m) (5.70 m). He is one of the greatest pole vaulters.

12. Thiago Braz

He is a vaulter from Brazil who has achieved great success on the world level. Before age 21, he won the South American Youth Championships in 2011, the Pan American Junior Championships in 2011, the World Junior Championships in 2012, and the South American Championships in 2013.

Best pole vaulter in 2020's
24 July 2022; Thiago Braz of Brazil competes in the men's Pole Vault final on day ten of the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, USA. Photo By Sam Barnes.
Source: Getty Images

After setting an Olympic record jump of 6.03 meters, he won the gold medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics in his native Brazil. He won a bronze medal at Tokyo 2020, his only other Olympic victory. He is one of the top pole vaulters.

11. Jennifer Suhr

She is an accomplished American vaulter who took home the gold in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and was the second American woman in history to do so. She has won 17 championship titles and excelled in indoor and outdoor US National Championships.

Top pole vaulter
Jenn Suhr competes in the first round of the Women's Pole Vault on day seven of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials on June 24, 2021, in Eugene, Oregon. Photo by Steph Chambers.
Source: Getty Images

Suhr maintains the record for the female athlete to clear the maximum height on the pole vault in an indoor competition at 5.03 meters due to her lengthy career at the US National Championships. Suhr has won numerous honours, including Female Athlete of the Year from Track and Field News in 2009.

10. Katie Nageotte

She is a well-known American vaulter who won the gold medal in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Nageotte was only the third American woman to win the vault gold medal, making it a legendary victory for Team USA. She began her competitive career in college while playing for the Ashland Eagles and Dayton Flyers.

Top pole vaulter in 2023
Katie Nageotte celebrates after winning gold in the Women's Pole Vault Final on day three of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 on July 17, 2022, in Eugene, Oregon. Photo by Ezra Shaw.
Source: Getty Images

She won two NCAA Division 2 Pole Vault Championships and three All-American titles throughout her undergraduate career. Throughout her professional career, she has succeeded at the USA National Championships and has participated in the IAAF World Championships.

9. Eliza McCartney

Her reputation soared when she won the bronze medal for New Zealand at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. McCartney was the youngest athlete to win an Olympic vaulting medal at the age of 19 years old.

Who is the greatest pole vaulter ever
Eliza McCartney, Silver medal for pole vault during the Welcome Home Function at Novotel on April 16, 2018, in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo by Dave Rowland.
Source: Getty Images

McCartney won vaulting competitions in New Zealand before going to the Olympics. She presently owns the vaulting record for New Zealand, with the best height clearance of 4.94 meters. When she competed as a youngster, she also cleared a height of 4.64 meters, breaking the junior world record for the sport. She holds a pole vault world record.

8. Sandi Morris

She is an Olympian and an excellent American pole vaulter. She broke records in high school and college before starting her professional career. From 2011 through 2015, she competed for the Arkansas Razorbacks and still holds numerous NCAA records.

Greatest pole vaulters
Sandi Morris of the U.S. competes in the Women's pole vault during the Herculis EBS 2022, part of the 2022 Diamond League series on August 10, 2022, in Monaco, Monaco. Photo by Valerio Pennicino.
Source: Getty Images

She became one of three women to clear five meters and currently retains the female pole vaulting record for the third-highest height. She is also the female vaulter with the highest height in American history.

Morris has two Olympic appearances under his belt, and in 2016 he took home a silver medal. She suffered an injury and could not compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics because her instrument broke. She pursues her career actively. She is one of the best female pole vaulters.

7. Renaud Lavillenie

He is a vaulter from France and one of the most significant competitors in the sport's history. He started a run of seven straight IAAF Diamond League victories in 2010, and two years later, he took home the gold at the London Olympics. Lavillenie won gold at three World Indoor Championships and seven European championships in the following years.

Best pole vaulter in 2023
France's Renaud Lavillenie prepares to compete in the men's pole vault event of Toulouse Capitole Perche in Toulouse on September 17, 2022. Photo by Charly TRIBALLEAU.
Source: Getty Images

He set the French national record for the most excellent clearance after winning silver at the 2016 Olympics (6.05 meters outside and 6.16 meters inside). He also held the global record clearance until 2020.

6. Maksim Tarasov

Maksim Tarasov is the best pole vaulter in Russia and one of the all-time greats. After underwhelming performances at the junior and senior levels, he shot to fame when the Unified Team unexpectedly won gold in the 1992 Summer Olympics. Tarasov achieved the 6.05-meter national record for vault clearance in Russia in 1996.

Most famous pole vaulters
Pole vaulters Soviet Sergueï Bubka(Gold medal)and Soviet Maksim Tarasov (L)pose on the podium after winning the World Athletics Championships, on August 29, 1991, in Tokyo. Photo by Mandel Ngan.
Source: Getty Images

Later, in 1998, he won his first European Championship. In 1999 a World Championship, and 2000 an Olympic bronze medal. Tarasov made his famous impact on the sport even though he had to retire a year later due to an injury.

5. Sam Kendricks

He is one of the all-time greats and the best vaulter in America. At the University of Mississippi, where he started his career, he won the 2013 and 2014 NCAA Championships. After becoming a professional, he won six outdoor National Championships and three indoor National Championships.

Kendricks won a bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2017 World Championship on the international stage. His position as one of the best male pole vaulters was cemented in 2019 when he broke the American record with a leap of 6.06 meters and won yet another World Championship.

4. Anzhelika Sidorova

She is another incredibly talented vaulter still early in her career. She is an athlete from Russia who participated in her maiden Olympic competition in 2020. She excelled in vaulting and took home a silver medal. Sidorova stands out from many female vaulters since she is one of three women to clear five meters in an outdoor competition.

When she won the Diamond League championship in Zurich, Switzerland, in 2021, she achieved the accomplishment. Sidorova was a nominee for the 2020 "Pride of Russia" National Sports Award in Russia.

3. Yelena Isinbayeva

She is frequently referred to be the vault's "first lady." During the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008, the Russian vaulter made history by clearing five meters for the first time in her illustrious career. She broke the record for the highest height a woman has cleared throughout her career, 17 times.

Best female pole vaulters
Yelena Isinbayeva attends the Men's Singles Skating Short Program on day four of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games on February 08, 2022, in Beijing, China. Photo by Jean Catuffe.
Source: Getty Images

She has received awards from Laureus and the International Association of Athletic Federations as the best female athlete of the year. Additionally, she has triumphed in events for pole vaulting at the junior, senior, and juvenile levels. In 2016, she announced her retirement from the sport and commenced her eight-year term as a member of the International Olympic Committee Athletes' Commission.

2. Armand Duplantis

He is the male vault's future. His world record height of 6.05 meters helped him win the gold at the 2015 World Youth Championships.

He won the gold medal at his first Olympics in 2021, and in his brief career, he has set new world records for indoor and outdoor vaults (6.18 meters and 6.15 meters, respectively). Duplantis is already one of the all-time greats in his sport, and he undoubtedly still has more records to break and honours to collect.

1. Christopher Nilsen

Nilsen took gold in the pole vault at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, clearing 5.76 meters (18 ft 11 in). In July 2020, Nilsen began his professional career as a Nike-sponsored athlete. He is currently represented by Karen Locke.

He was the only pole vaulter to clear 5.90 m (19 ft 4 in) at the 2020 Olympic Trials on June 21, 2021, securing first place and a seat on the Olympic team alongside Sam Kendricks and KC Lightfoot. With a leap of 5.97 m (19 ft 7 in), he won silver at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, improving his personal best by two centimetres.

Pole vault world record
Christopher NILSEN during the SILESIA Kamila Skolimowska Memorial 2022 on Saturday, August 07 2022, in Chorzow, Silesian Voivodeship, Poland. Photo by Artur Widak.
Source: Getty Images

Who is the greatest pole vaulter ever?

Ukraine-born star Sergey Bubka is arguably the greatest to be seen in the industry. He won his first IAAF World Championship in 1983 while competing for the Soviet Union, and he then won the following five World Championships in a row. He also received a gold medal at the Seoul Olympics in 1988. However, the best vaulter today is written below.

The best pole vaulters are the ones who have incredible precision and consistency once they step on the field. These sportspersons are highly regarded as some of the finest athletes in the world of field events and achieved great heights in their careers.

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