Olympian Shawn Barber Dead at 29

Olympian Shawn Barber Dead at 29

Shawn Barber, a renowned Canadian pole vaulter, tragically passed away on January 17 at his residence in Kingwood, Texas, as confirmed by his agent Paul Doyle to The Associated Press. Barber was only 29 years old at the time of his death.

The cause of his passing was attributed to medical complications, though the specific details of his cause of death have not been disclosed. Reflecting on Barber’s life, Doyle shared with the AP on January 18, “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.”

Barber’s athletic career was marked by significant achievements, including becoming the world champion in pole vaulting in 2015 with a remarkable height of 5.90 meters. That same year, he also claimed victory at the Pan American Games and subsequently represented Canada at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

However, Barber’s athletic journey was not without its challenges. In 2018, he encountered ankle injuries and took a hiatus from competing in 2019, as reported by the Canadian broadcaster CBC. Discussing his struggles in a 2020 interview, Barber mentioned dealing with personal issues, including injuries and family matters, which impacted his career. “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,” he stated.

At the time of the interview, Barber described himself as “fairly healthy” and expressed his enthusiasm for returning to the sport. He looked forward to participating in early meets and aimed to enjoy competitions without the weight of pressure. “It’s a lot of fun to have those early couple of meets,” he said. “Something I’m looking forward to working on is just being able to show up and have fun at a meet without the sense of pressure.”