18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

That 50 Percent

After a tough year of vaulting, a serious injury, and a home meet scheduled on the same weekend as The Reno Pole Vault Summit, this looked to be the first year that I would not attend the event in the last decade. Sad to say, but it seemed only logical. Lat week an organizer called me and convinced me to come. I told him I would most likely not be competing, although the idea of being a part of an event with that much energy, possibly for the last time, is very appealing, regardless of the outcome. He then went on to tell me that I should represent myself there not only as an athlete but as a coach. I was very flattered by this and it made me realize that I do want to remain heavily involved in this sport after i retire the tuxedo. I feel like I can be a huge help to athletes of all ages but mostly those trying to make the taxing transition from college to professional vaulting. I would say over the years I've seen something like 50 percent of elite college vaulters slip through the cracks there first year out of school and then disappear never to be seen or heard from again. Its that 50 percent that I'll be going after. They need help on the journey, just like I did. I look back and can't believe how far I went with a measly personal best of 5.60m (18'4.5"). I got to compete at the Olympic trials, travel to Africa, Europe, Taiwan, meet amazing people, and go on crazy adventures. Part of it was luck, part of it was drive, and a huge part of it was the support I gained from people around me. I want to become that support system for someone else, even if its only 1 person. I look at my athletes at ISU who plan on continuing there careers out of college and see the many hardships that lie ahead of them. Money, insurance, injuries, travel issues, mark chasing, social pressures of conformity, slipping out of the job market with a college degree in your pocket. I'm constantly trying to think of ways i can help them when they are done, and I intend to implement as many as possible in the future.
Right now my life does revolve around an injury. And i intend to compete again someday. But I do constantly think about the next generation.
So yes I will be going to Reno this year, but not for me, for them. And hopefully I'm not completely full of shit, and have something to offer.

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