Canadian world champion pole vaulter Shawn Barber, 29, has tragically passed away at his home in Kingwood, Texas, on Wednesday. Barber, who set the Canadian record for the men’s pole vault in January 2016, achieved significant milestones in his career. He won a gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto and secured victory at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing later that year.
As a college student, Barber was a three-time NCAA championship winner as a member of the University of Akron’s track and field team. The university, in a statement, remembered him as “a well-liked teammate and competitor.” Barber, who made his Olympic debut in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, reached the final, where he showcased his talent.
His agent, Paul Doyle, stated that Barber had been experiencing poor health for some time. Describing him as “more than just an incredible athlete,” Doyle emphasized Barber’s good-hearted nature and his tendency to put others ahead of himself. Barber’s best vault of 6 meters still stands as the Canadian record.
Barber is survived by his brother David, his mother Ann, and his father George.
(Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly characterized the record set by Barber. He set the Canadian record for the men’s pole vault.)