Friday, January 20, 2012

Life At The UCS Spirit Reno Pole Vault Summit

This is only my 3rd time (2nd as an elite) at the UCS Spirit Reno Pole Vault Summit, and i just can't see how it can get better, but it does every year!! If you love the pole vault and you've never been out here, get your butt in gear and plan on it for next year because it is truly a unique experience. Last year when I arrived, hardly any kids and high schoolers knew who I was. Only some of the major fans of the sport and the local midwest kids. And then after the competition where I got 3rd place at 5.50m/18' 0.5" with a sweet hair design and a green mohawk, everyone wanted my autograph and suddenly I realized that I belonged in this sport as a professional. This year when I arrived... people knew who I was. That was the coolest feeling in the world. I was even signing autographs and talking to groups of kids and fans at the airport on the way out here! This event is the single most inspiring and motivational event in the world for an emerging elite athlete, someone who can vault higher than most collegiate vaulters, yet not quite competitive enough to keep up with the best in the world at most competitions. Being around all of these younger vaulters who look up to us and want autographs is inspiring in itself, and then to also be around world champions, olympic champions, world record holders, and everyone in between is just plain sobering. The whole weekend the discussion among the elites is to raise expectations and stop shooting for 5.72m or 5.80... We need to be shooting for 5.90m and 6.00m and higher. Just getting 5.72 and qualifying for the Olympics isn't going to get us a medal or even in the top 8 most likely. The trend has been that the Olympic Champion usually has to clear a new Olympic Record to win. I'm all for raising expectations and I don't think I've ever had a problem with mine being too low, as my goals are constantly to be the best vaulter in the world. Of course I want 5.72m, but as Brad Walker put it, it should just be a stepping stone in the journey to be the best. And that's where my head's at. I'm physically able to be the best pole vaulter in the world right now, at this very moment. There is nothing I NEED to do differently, training wise. I just need to vault higher, because that's the bottom line. Grow a pair, get on bigger poles, run faster, plant higher, and clear the freakin monster bars like I was made to do. I plan on starting that strategy tonight and I'm more than excited to jump with all of these elite guys tonight in front of the best pole vault fans in the world. And just because I admire the guy and hope that I can compete on his level soon, I'll say one last thing....... Bring it on Brad Walker. I don't know about the other guys, but I want to go head-to-head. Let's dance!

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