PHOTOS | Shawn Barber is looking to make Olympic history in the pole vault tonight

The 21-year-old pole vaulter, Shawn Barber, is the reigning world champion but, after missing his first two jumps in the qualifying rounds, there are some questions for the Canadian when he jumps alongside world-record holder Renaud Lavillenie in the final on Monday night.

The pole vault final is tonight at 7:35 p.m. ET

(Kevin Light/CBC)

Barber is the reigning pole vault world champion.

The 21-year-old Torontonian missed his first two jumps in the qualifying rounds on Sunday night, but pulled it together to clear 5.70, landing himself in the final Monday night.

(Murad Sezer/Reuters)

He is only 1 of 2 jumpers in the final to have cleared 6 metres this year.

Barber joined the six-metre club this year (he's the only Canadian member) and is only one of two jumpers in the final with comparable personal bests. 

The other is defending Olympic champion, and world-record holder at 6.16 metres, France's Renaud Lavillenie. His season best is 6.03 metres.

(Franck Fife/AFP/Getty)

Lavillenie wants to make Olympic history on Monday.

The 29-year-old is a star of the French track and field team. He will make history if he is able to claim a repeat gold medal win on Monday, breaking a six-decades-old record.

(Kevin Light/CBC)

Barber is hot on his heels in his Olympic debut.

The Canadian beat Lavillenie at the world championships in Beijing but finished behind him at a Diamond League meet in May this year.

Lavillenie and Barber have competed against each other 14 times over the course of their careers, with Barber winning twice. And the Canadian has yet to beat Lavillenie in the six meetings they've had so far in 2016.

Lavillenie has also jumped six metres or more in competition at least 19 times. Barber has done it only once. Here he is at the Canadian Olympic trials in Edmonton in July.

(Kevin Light/CBC)

Barber is the heir to a Canadian pole vault legacy.

His father, George Barber, represented Canada as a pole vaulter at the 1983 world championships and had been coaching his son until he was banned in relation to criminal charges in the U.S.

Barber was born in New Mexico and holds dual citizenship, though he chooses to compete for Canada and calls Toronto home.

In college, he set National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) records at the University of Akron, but decided to forego the last year of his athletic scholarship to turn professional. It was a lucrative move as his win in Beijing netted him $60,000 US in prize money. He also has a shoe contract with Nike that no doubt includes a generous medal bonus.

(Kevin Light/CBC)


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