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PHOTO/VIDEO: Pole vaulter's pole snaps mid-vault

By Matt Norlander | Staff Writer
Cuba's Lazaro Borges' equipment failed him on the way up to the bar. (Getty Images)

One of the scariest scenarios possible played out on the field today at the Olympics. When watching pole vaulting, one can help but wonder how those gigantic bows don't give way to pressure and physics. It looks like an optical illusion, how something so heavy, firm straight can become so willingly parabolic.

But, occasionally, the physics break bad. Rarely is it at the Olympics, but that's what happened Wednesday to Cuban pole vaulter Lazaro Borges. After planting his pole into the pit and beginning his ascent, the wood gave way, snapped like an aged twig and sent Borges feet over head into the mat. He landed awkwardly but thankfully was OK.

Here's the accident in real-time. He just barely gets enough momentum to put him on the cushion. Wow. You can hear the stadium suck up in a scare real quick, too.

And here's the slow-mo replay, which is certainly some sort of gnarly.

Borges got himself a new pole, climbed again, and cleared 5.50 meters -- just shy of qualifying for Friday's finals.

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