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Pole vaulter has epic meltdown, still wins gold medal (video)

Mar 5, 2013, 2:30 PM EDT

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2013 European Athletics Indoor Championships - Day Three Getty Images

It kind of goes without saying that in pole vaulting, one minute you’re up and the next you’re down — but that applies emotionally as well as physically. Take Renaud Lavillenie, for example. He’s the world’s top active pole vaulter, and for a moment there at the European Indoor Championships on Sunday, he thought he had turned in the second-best vault in the world. That would be a 6.07-meter jump, second only to Sergei Bubka’s indoor world record of 6.15, set in 1993.

But here’s the thing about pole vaulting: if you touch the bar and move it the ever-so-slightest bit, it can cost you. In this case, Lavillenie’s joy turned to tears when he found out that his leap had been disqualified. Sad, really.

Lavillenie still won the event with a best of 6.01, which far outdistanced his closest competitor. His ultimate mistake? Just before his approach, he should have had a group of inmates from Bane’s prison pit chanting “Deshi Basara”.