Erica Bartolina
Personal information
Full nameErica (Boren) Bartolina Fraley
Nationality United States
Born (1980-05-15) May 15, 1980 (age 42)
Corvallis, Oregon
Height1.68 m (5 ft 6 in)
Weight57 kg (126 lb)
Event(s)Pole vault
College teamTexas A&M Aggies[1]
Coached byMike Bartolina[1]
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)Outdoor: 4.55 m (2008)
Indoor: 4.40 m (2007)

Erica Bartolina (née Boren) (born May 15, 1980 in Corvallis, Oregon) is an American pole vaulter.[2] She set a personal best of 4.55 m by placing third at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, which guaranteed her a qualifying place for the Olympics.[3]


Bartolina grew up on a sheep farm in Corvallis, Oregon. She lost her eyesight as a baby in a car accident, when a pair of scissors swiped across the dashboard during the collision, causing the injury and limiting her depth perception for life.[4][5] Despite being blind in one eye, Bartolina did not stop her dream of becoming an Olympic athlete. She started her athletic career as a cross-country runner at age fourteen, until she was advised by her high school track coach Joe Fulton to try out for pole vault. Since then, Bartolina developed into one of the top pole vaulters in the state, and earned a full scholarship at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, where she won two Big 12 Conference titles, and also, held the distinction of being one of the school's first female pole vaulters.[6]

Bartolina improved her marks in pole vault, when she finished ninth at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2004, and fourth at the U.S. Indoor Championships in 2005. Shortly after the championships, Bartolina took a year off from pole vault, when she suffered a severe back injury from training at Texas A&M University.[6] In 2008, she came out of recovery from injury, and competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, where she successfully cleared a height and set a personal best of 4.55 metres in the women's pole vault. Finishing third from the trials and reaching an A-standard height of 4.45 metres, Bartolina automatically qualified for the Olympics.[3]

At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Bartolina competed as a member of the U.S. track and field team in the women's pole vault, along with her teammates April Steiner Bennett, and Jennifer Stuczynski, who eventually won the silver medal in the final. Unfortunately, she failed to clear a height of 4.30 metres in the preliminary rounds, after three unsuccessive attempts.[7][8]

Bartolina currently resides in Hammond, Louisiana and is the owner of "The Louisiana Pole Vault Compound", a pole vault training facility. She coached high school athlete Devin King to a personal best height of 5.50m (18'0.5") at the 2014 World Junior Championships, and the high school indoor record of 5.45m (17'10.5"). In 2014, Bartolina married Doug Fraley, coach and former pole vaulter.[6]


  1. ^ a b c "USATF – Erica Bartolina". USA Track & Field. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
  2. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Erica Bartolina". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on April 18, 2020. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Dunaway, James (July 7, 2008). "Stuczynski soars to 4.92m Area Record after 4.60 scare – US Olympic Trials, Final Day". IAAF. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
  4. ^ Lenz, John (December 11, 2008). "Bartolina's 'secret' sure to inspire Games". Hammond Star. Archived from the original on February 16, 2013. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
  5. ^ Stroup, Matt (July 9, 2008). "The things you'll see". NBC Olympics. Archived from the original on July 31, 2012. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c Spain, Kevin (August 4, 2008). "Erica Bartolina an Olympian in pole vault". The Times-Piscayune. NOLA. Archived from the original on October 22, 2015. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
  7. ^ "Women's Pole Vault Qualification". NBC Olympics. Archived from the original on July 30, 2012. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
  8. ^ Goe, Ken (August 15, 2008). "Erica Bartolina fails to advance in the women's pole vault". The Oregonian. Oregon Live. Retrieved January 7, 2013.