Princeton brothers try unicycle pole vault

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If they were a circus act, they could be the Flying Slovenskis. Brothers Steve Slovenski ’09 and Dave Slovenski ’12 have excelled as Princeton track athletes — Steve was one of the Tigers’ top decathletes, and Dave won the pole vault at the Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal Championships last February — but they appear even more impressive competing against each other in an event they created: the unicycle pole vault.

The younger Slovenski first brought his unicycle to track practice to use it in warm-ups. (It’s similar to pedaling an exercise bike, he says, but it works more muscles.) When Princeton coach Fred Samara saw the brothers riding while carrying poles, he asked incredulously if they were planning to vault off of their unicycles.

“That sounds crazy and dangerous,” Dave said.

“Let’s try it!” Steve replied.

The results of their creative combination can be seen in the YouTube video below, which shows the brothers clearing the bar at up to 10 feet while big-top theme music plays in the background.

The video is a highlight reel. On about a quarter of their attempts, Dave Slovenski says, they bail out before takeoff, into the protective foam. When they are able to launch, they only clear the bar about half the time. But just trying is fun, Dave says, and while it may look dangerous, he insists that it’s no more risky than pole vaulting with a running approach.

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