France's Renaud Lavillenie missed hardly any jumps in the pole vault competition at the 2012 London Olympics, and when it came time for his second attempt at an Olympic-record 19.58 feet (5.97 meters), he cooly planted his pole into the ground and vaulted himself into history and past two German vaulters for the gold medal. As is customary and exclusive to paul vaulting, he started roaring in celebration on the way down, knowing he had reached heights seldom touched in outdoor competition.
Germans Bjorn Otto and Raphael Holzdeppe earned silver and bronze, respectively, completing leaps of 19.38 feet each. Defending Olympic champion Steven Hooker of Australia didn't complete a single jump, a stunning turn of events for those who haven't been following the sport (you know, all of us), but he's lost his tremendous form over the past year or so. The only American in the final, Brad Walker, also didn't complete a vault.