18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

More Video and Thoughts on Simplot and the Road ahead

Here is footage of my series of jumps from this weekend. I had one miss in the competition until the bar went up to 18'5" where I failed 3 times. 5.17m o, 5.32m o, 5.42m xo, 5.52m o and 5.61m xxx.

This weekend was fantastic. It’s always when you stop looking for something, that you find it.
            That is part of what happened to me on Friday at the Simplot Games. All indoors I have been telling my friends I really don’t understand why I haven’t jumped higher by now. With indoors coming to an end I had chosen not to attempt to slip into the USA indoor championships by posting a mark less than the standard, even commenting that I obviously wasn’t ready for a championship meet. But things changed. After giving up on the prospect of glory indoors nationally I felt so much more relaxed. The anxiety of running out of time to perform was wearing on me, letting it go was the best thing I could have done. I entered this competition with absolutely no interest in the final result. I showed up to have a good time.
             It’s kind of hard to be nervous or serious when you’re wearing a spandex tuxedo and a massive top hat. I even made sure that between jumps I put my hat back on and enjoyed myself. The result was great and a bonus to a day that was going to be special regardless of how it ended. It was a lesson I have learned many times pertaining to the proper state of mind, but I was happy for the reminder.
            Can I jump higher, of course I can. An excessive celebration this weekend probably factored into my failed attempts at the following height, but now that it is out of the way, I can clear higher bars by staying relaxed and unshaken. 5.52m (18’1”) is nice to have out of the way, but 5.72m (18’9”) is the next logical step (the standard that is requisite to attend the World Indoor Championships and the Olympic Games).
Ultimately I have to believe that I am capable of heights much higher than this, otherwise this whole pursuit is for nothing. If I want to compete at the Olympics Game I have to aim much higher, and I am. 
            Too often we talk about the pole vault like everything has to be so perfect and technical, and every new inch gained presents its own unique challenge. It’s this kind of thinking that creates psychological barriers for athletes and I myself am guilty of speaking and thinking this way.  Tearing down these barriers seems far more difficult than creating them. But it doesn’t have to be. I need to jump 8 inches higher next weekend to have a chance to make the USA World Indoor team that will travel to Istanbul, Turkey to compete against the world’s best. If I can’t believe that I am capable of that extra 8 inches, then there is no point in even setting foot on the airplane Thursday. 8 inches higher than I have jumped in the last 5 years, 4 inches higher than I have ever jumped, I could see how some would look at it as a tall order, but I don’t. What’s 8 inches anyway? It’s a little more than the length of a standard DVD case. Everyone has one of those, hold one up, take a good look at it, and tell me, is that too much to believe in. No, its not, it’s nothing.  I will not let the length of a DVD case stand in my way of glory. It’s actually kind of insulting, that something so small can threaten to be a catalyst for such a barrier.
            Not even a week ago I was shown technical data that would paint me in a negative light, and stacked the odds against me even further. Although briefly painful to see, I chose to use that information as fuel for my fire rather than extinguish it, and 4 days later, in an Olympic Year, I secured my place as one of the top 5 pole vaulters in the Nation, not just any nation, the USA baby! Sure it’s only the indoor season, but I know I am capable of so much more, and I’m glad that this small step was proof of it. Keep throwing obstacles in my way, I’m only going to get better.
Fun with numbers.
What’s 8 inches?
My step was a bit under when I left the ground for my clearance at 5.52m, which lowered my hips 1-2 inches, essentially lowering me 1-2 inches. Stand up taller at takeoff by getting my feet right underneath me, there’s 2 inches.
I was gripping at 16’, I can easily grip 16’2” or 16’4”. Lets call it 16’2”, there is 2 more inches. 2 + 2 = 4
I went over the right hand side of the cross bar, by being off to the side and creating an angle to the bar you are losing height by not going down the middle, this can be anything between 2-6 inches of height lost. Lets call it 3 to be fair. 2 + 2 + 3 = 7. Getting close.
Regardless of brushing the bar on the way down, I cleared it by a few inches. Probably 2 to 3 inches, but we’ll keep this logical and say 2.

2 + 2 + 3 + 2 = 9 inches.

There is your 8 inches plus a bonus inch, and I didn’t even mention what one pole bigger could do. So, what’s 8 inches? Nothing.

No comments:

Post a Comment