Pole vaulting is a track and field event in which a person uses a long, flexible pole (which today is usually made either of fiberglass or carbon fiber) as an aid to leap over a bar. Pole jumping competitions were known to the ancient Greeks, Cretans and Celts. It has been a full medal event at the Olympic Games since 1896 for men and 2000 for women. Poles were used as a practical means of passing over natural obstacles in marshy places such as provinces of Friesland in the Netherlands, along the North Sea, and the great level of the Fens across Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk. Artificial draining of these marshes created a network of open drains or canals intersecting each other. To cross these without getting wet, while avoiding tedious roundabout journeys over bridges, a stack of jumping poles was kept at every house and used for vaulting over the canals.
Contributions by David D., Mdd4696, and 184.108.40.206.