What is it about the women’s pole vault? Apart from the obvious, of course. Tall slim women, running with a stick, and suddenly flying. Graceful and beautiful. And sometimes quite sexy, in a ‘mostly harmless’ way. Admittedly.
If you watch it in the stadium, it probably isn’t very impressive, but on telly, it’s superb. They can show the successful vaults over and over, in slow motion. Or they could, if they showed it. Scheduled for Saturday August 2nd, in the evening, at 7.00 pm. It was raining, so the pole vault was postponed. However, it wasn’t postponed for very long. Not that we were allowed to watch. We were shown assorted track events, a moment where a Welsh woman called Sally Peake cleared four metres in the pole vault, some flags being raised, and Gary Lineker talking about boxing. Then we had some actual boxing, which was supposed to be on BBC3. I did look at BBC3, in the fond hope that the women’s pole vault was on there, but they were showing diving.
They did actually show a bit more pole vault, where Sally Peake put her experience of Welsh weather to good use, clearing 4.15, and everyone else failed, but then it was time for some more flag raising on BBC1. Alana Boyd from Australia cleared 4.15 while that was going on, and then we were back live for Sally Peake to clear 4.25, for about a minute, before we were being shown the men’s javelin and the women’s 4×400 relay. At this stage, it could be just Sally Peake and Alana Boyd, or half the female population of the Commonwealth, for all that we were getting to see. On the other hand, the English women’s 4×400 team were very cheerful about their bronze medal. A brief clip showed Alana Boyd going ahead of Sally Peake, clearing 4.35, while Sally hit the bar at 4.40. The English men’s 4×400 relay team were pleased about their gold medal, too.
Alana Boyd cleared 4.40, Sally Peake didn’t, and that was that, gold and silver sorted. It’s anybody’s guess who won bronze, because they didn’t show anything else. Maybe they’ll show the medals and some flag raising, so we’ll possibly find out, but it isn’t the same as watching it.
The BBC have a tradition of not showing the women’s pole vault. Their promise at the 2012 Olympics, to show ‘every minute of every event’ did include the final of the women’s pole vault, but the qualifying was merely a blurry background to the track events. Almost. They did show the bit where Holly Bleasdale qualified. My suspicion is that Holly Bleasdale didn’t win the Commonwealth Games bronze (since she wasn’t in it), but it’s no good watching the BBC to find out.