Shawn Barber, Canadian Olympian and pole vaulter dies at 29 due to medical complications

Shawn Barber. Image credit: Canadian Olympian and world champion pole vaulter Shawn Barber dies at 29. Photo Courtesy: 2.0 Generic/Wikimedia Commons

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IBNS-CMEDIA: Canadian Olympian and world champion pole vaulter Shawn Barber has died due to medical complications at his home in the US city of Kingwood.

He was 29.

He died on January 17.

“Barber had fallen ill and had been experiencing poor health for some time,” read a statement issued by the University of Akron’s athletics department.

He became the first male individual national champion in Zips history capturing the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championship jumping a Canadian overall record of 18-10.25 to defeat 2013 NCAA Outdoor Champ and future Olympian Sam Kendricks of Ole Miss.

Barber then earned both the NCAA indoor and outdoor titles during the 2015 campaign eclipsing 19-4.75 (5.91m) and 18-4.50 (5.50m), respectively, en route to becoming a finalist for both the Bowerman and Sullivan Awards. His winning clearance on his final attempt at the 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships broke not only his own collegiate record but also set a then NCAA Championship meet standard besting Jacob Davis’ record of 19-2.25 (5.85m) set in 1999.

Barber found success on the international stage after leaving Akron winning the 2015 IAAF World Championship in Beijing, China with a clearance of 19-4.25 (5.90m). He also earned the gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Games on the strength of a winning jump of 19-0.25 (5.80m).

Barber represented Canada at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro where he battled the elements to place 10th eclipsing 18-0.50 (5.50m).

Barber’s best vault was 6.0 meters (19-8.25) on Jan. 15, 2016, in Reno, Nevada. His mark remains the Canadian record.