Athletics at the 2020 Summer Olympics – Men's pole vault

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Men's pole vault
at the Games of the XXXII Olympiad
Olympic Athletics.png
Olympic Athletics
VenueJapan National Stadium
Dates31 July 2021
3 August 2021
Competitors~35 from ~25 nations
← 2016
2024 →

The men's pole vault event at the 2020 Summer Olympics is scheduled to take place between 31 July and 3 August 2021 at the Japan National Stadium.[1] Approximately 35 athletes are expected to compete; the exact number will depend on how many nations use universality places to enter athletes in addition to the 32 qualifying through time or ranking (no universality places were used in 2016).[2]


This will be the 29th appearance of the event, which is one of 12 athletics events to have been held at every Summer Olympics.


A National Olympic Committee (NOC) could enter up to 3 qualified athletes in the men's pole vault event if all athletes meet the entry standard or qualify by ranking during the qualifying period. (The limit of 3 has been in place since the 1930 Olympic Congress.) The qualifying standard is 5.80 metres. This standard was "set for the sole purpose of qualifying athletes with exceptional performances unable to qualify through the IAAF World Rankings pathway." The world rankings, based on the average of the best five results for the athlete over the qualifying period and weighted by the importance of the meet, will then be used to qualify athletes until the cap of 32 is reached.[2][3]

The qualifying period was originally from 1 May 2019 to 29 June 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the period was suspended from 6 April 2020 to 30 November 2020, with the end date extended to 29 June 2021. The world rankings period start date was also changed from 1 May 2019 to 30 June, 2020; athletes who had met the qualifying standard during that time were still qualified, but those using world rankings would not be able to count performances during that time. The qualifying time standards could be obtained in various meets during the given period that have the approval of the IAAF. Both outdoor and indoor meets are eligible. The most recent Area Championships may be counted in the ranking, even if not during the qualifying period.[2][4]

NOCs can also use their universality place—each NOC can enter one male athlete regardless of time if they had no male athletes meeting the entry standard for an athletics event—in the pole vault.[2]

Competition format[edit]

The 2020 competition will continue to use the two-round format introduced in 1912. There are two distinct rounds of vaulting with results cleared between rounds. Vaulters are eliminated if they have three consecutive failures, whether at a single height or between multiple heights if they attempt to advance before clearing a height.

The qualifying round has the bar set at various heights up to a qualifying standard (to be determined closer to the start of the Games; 5.75 metres in 2016). All jumpers clearing that standard advance to the final. A minimum of 12 jumpers advance; if fewer than 12 achieve the qualifying standard, the top 12 (including ties after use of the countback rules) advance. It has been common in recent Games for few enough vaulters to achieve the last height below the qualifying standard that none even attempt the qualifying standard.

The final has jumps starting typically just below the qualifying standard and increasing gradually. The final continues until there all jumpers are eliminated.[5]


Prior to this competition, the existing world, Olympic, and area records are as follows.

World record  Armand Duplantis (SWE) 6.18 Glasgow, United Kingdom 15 February 2020
Olympic record  Thiago Braz da Silva (BRA) 6.03 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 15 August 2016
Area Height (m) Athlete Nation
Africa (records) 6.03 Okkert Brits  South Africa
Asia (records) 5.92 Igor Potapovich  Kazakhstan
Europe (records) 6.18 WR Armand Duplantis  Sweden
North, Central America
and Caribbean
6.06 Sam Kendricks  United States
Oceania (records) 6.06 Steven Hooker  Australia
South America (records) 6.03 OR Thiago Braz  Brazil


All times are Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)

Date Time Round
Saturday, 31 July 2021 9:00 Qualifying
Tuesday, 3 August 2021 19:00 Final


  1. ^ "Athletics Competition Schedule". Tokyo 2020. Retrieved 29 September 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b c d "Qualification System – Games of the XXXI Olympiad – Athletics" (PDF). IAAF. Retrieved 31 March 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "IAAF to follow other sports with world ranking system for athletes". BBC Sport. 7 March 2018. Retrieved 2 August 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Olympic qualification period suspended until 1 December 2020". World Athletics. 6 April 2020. Retrieved 9 April 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Athletics Explanatory Guide". Tokyo 2020. August 2019.