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Olympic Pole Vaulter Shawn Barber Dead At 29

Olympian Pole Vaulter Shawn Barber Dead At 29

Young Olympian Shawn Barber has passed away.

According to his agent Paul Doyle in a statement to The Associated Press on Thursday night, the 29-year-old died Wednesday at his home in Kingwood, Texas. Per the outlet, Shawn had been experiencing health issues and died of medical complications, but an official cause of death was not shared. The Canadian pole vaulter’s agent mourned his loss, saying:

“More than just an incredible athlete, Shawn was such a good-hearted person that always put others ahead of himself. It’s tragic to lose such a good person at such a young age.”

It’s truly heartbreaking.

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If you don’t know, Shawn competed at the University of Akron, winning multiple NCAA indoor and outdoor championships in 2014 and 2015. He went on to be crowned a gold medalist at the Pan American Games in 2015 and competed in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. See some of his highlights (below):

Unfortunately, the athlete’s career took a backseat in 2018 when he suffered an ankle injury, leading him to take a break the next year, per CBC. In 2020, he told the outlet:

“I was dealing with some personal issues — injuries, family. There were a lot of personal factors playing roles in my career that I had to re-evaluate and I’m still in the process of managing those relationships.”

That said, he described himself as “fairly healthy” at the time and was looking forward to competing again. He still holds the Canadian record for the highest pole vault — reaching six meters (or over 19 feet) at the 2016 Pole Vault Summit in Reno, Nevada, per AP.

We are sending our love, thoughts, and prayers to all his family and friends. May he rest in peace.

[Image via Olympics/CBC News/YouTube]

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