Pole position: defaulting the vaulting
A reader writes, “Bob, yesterday I heard somebody use the expression ‘about as good as a Japanese pole vaulter.’ I’m too lazy to use Google, so can you please tell me what that means?”
Sure. This is a very common expression, and it’s pure sarcasm. It stems from the fact that while the Japanese are very good at many sports, for some reason they just don’t get pole vaulting.
This fact was made clear again today at tryouts in Tokyo for the upcoming 2009 El Paso Olympic Games.
A number of athletes had to be rescued from atop their poles, and a few had to have the poles surgically removed. It was not a pretty sight.
Members of the Edo Firemanship Preservation Association display their balancing skills atop bamboo ladders during a New Year demonstration in Tokyo, January 6, 2009. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao