Canadian Olympian Shawn Barber, Aged 29, Has Passed Away


At the age of 29, Olympic pole vaulter Shawn Barber has passed away.

Although Barber was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico, his father, George, hails from Ontario.

As a result, Barber divided his time between the USA and Canada, ultimately choosing to represent Canada in his sporting championships.

Commencing his career as a student-athlete at the University of Akron, Barber later went on to represent Canada at the Olympic Games.

Unfortunately, his agent has confirmed the tragic news of his passing.

Paul Doyle, Barber's agent, informed the Associated Press that he passed away at his residence in Kingwood, Texas, on Wednesday, January 17.

"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," Doyle added to AP.

The confirmation of the Olympian's passing was made by his management agency through an Instagram post on Thursday: "A friend that will never be forgotten. Canadian Olympic Pole Vaulter Shawn Barber has passed away."

His agency also highlighted Barber's significant athletic accomplishments, stating: "He is currently the Canadian record holder with his personal best of 6.00m and was the 2015 World Champion in the Pole Vault. Shawn was also an Olympic finalist at the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro."

"He will be greatly missed."

Homage to the athletic talent has poured in, with Athletics Canada posting on X, formerly Twitter: "Our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Shawn Barber, Canadian Pole Vaulter – 2015 World Champion, Rio 2016 Olympian and Canadian Record Holder."

World Athletics echoed the same sentiment, supplementing: "Keep flying, Shawn. World Athletics is deeply saddened by the passing of Shawn Barber, the 2015 world pole vault champion. Condolences go out to his family, friends and fellow vaulters."

Doyle also disclosed to AP that Barber had been grappling with certain health issues at the time of his demise.

The cause of death has not been confirmed at this moment.

During his time at the University of Akron, Barber secured the titles of NCAA Indoor Pole Vault Champion in both 2014 and 2015, becoming the first athlete to achieve back-to-back victories.

Furthermore, Barber achieved even greater acclaim by securing one of his five Canadian titles in the same year.

In Beijing, China, in 2015, Barber emerged victorious at the world championships, achieving a height of 5.90m.

Subsequently, he reached the final at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, although the pole vault event was ultimately claimed by Thiago Braz of Brazil.

Canada secured its inaugural world pole vault medal and its first athletics world title in 12 years, courtesy of Barber's victory at the 2015 world championships, as reported by CTV News.

Barber's highest vault, a six-meter achievement, was recorded on January 15, 2016, in Reno, Nevada, and stands as the Canadian record, according to the Associated Press.

His mother, Ann, father, George, and brother, David, are the surviving family members of the Olympic star.