The Olympic pole vaulters are getting soaked because Rio staff forgot to cover the mat during a downpour

You won’t learn this in pole vault school:

Picture: Getty Images

That’s the USA’s Sam Kendricks in the men’s final on right now. What’s different about this picture is Kendricks’ hands – they’re in the air, palms outward.

The unconventional finish is courtesy of a bit of an oversight by Olympics ground staff, who forgot to cover the mat during a big downpour before the event.

So, as China’s Xue Changrui was the unfortunate first to find out, competitors were suddenly landing on a giant sponge:

Those who followed Xue were quick to protect their chalk-covered hands after his drenching.

It had to be off-putting for Xue, but thankfully, he cleared the bar on his third attempt and is back on track in the final.

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