The following vaulters will be in the finals Thursday for the U.S. Olympic Men’s vault team: Mark Hollis, Jack Whitt, Brad Walker, Jordan Scott, Scott Roth, Derek Miles, Dustin Deleo, Rory Quiller, Mike Woepse, and D. Niedemeyer…
SHOREVIEW — Jagger Gran, a young man with a cool-sounding name and the ability to soar more than 15 feet in the air, sounds like he could be a comic book hero. Despite his action-hero name and aerial ability, Gran is actually a 5’11’’, 165-pound, recently graduated 18-year-old from Mounds View High School. And no, he doesn’t have superpowers. The way he’s able to fly through the air is by running with a giant 15-foot pole from distances of up to 115 feet, planting said pole into an 8-inch deep metal hole called “the box”, then launching himself over a bar that’s upwards of 15 feet in the air. It’s all part of pole vaulting and Gran is one of the best in the state of Minnesota. He’s received interest from St. Cloud State University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Minnesota-Duluth and the University of Sioux Falls, all on account of his vaulting acumen. Continue reading
EUGENE, Ore. – The day belonged to a trio of former University of Arkansas track and field student-athletes as action continued Sunday at the 2012 Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. Competing in the finals of the pole vault, April (Steiner) Bennett was the top performer among the ex-Razorbacks with a fifth-place finish, followed by Janice Keppler in seventh and Katie Stripling who no-heighted. Bennett (2001-03) was perfect through the first two heights of the competition with clearances of 4.25m/13-11.25 and 4.40m/14-5.25. She finished with that as her final mark. Keppler (2009-10) also had a successful attempt at the opening height but had three misses at 4.40m/14-5.25 to exit the competition. Stripling (2007-10) opened the day with three misses at the opening height.more
The Mental Approach Is Everything
BG: Brad, we’ve talked about your medical attention and approach, your diet, and some specific things you’ve found help your warm up. How about the mental approach to what you do? Are there specific things that you do to prepare mentally for competition?
BW: Your mental approach at the top level is the single most important factor. Everybody who can jump 19 feet or higher is a talented pole vaulter and it comes down to the mental game when you go to a major championship or begin that third attempt at a major meet.
The mental approach is everything.
Not only do I think the mental approach is important in the event itself but I also personally believe that your mental approach and stresses in life can lead or help your body overcome injury. When I loosen up mentally, my body loosens up along with it.
When I get to a competition, I have a meditative focus. I am also an intense person in general and I like competing intensely. What I don’t do, however, is intensely think about things. I stay in an intensive mindset but I don’t overanalyze or over think things.
It’s a weird balance because you want to stay in a certain kind of mindset but not focus on specific things. You need to try and keep yourself from over thinking. It’s being in the moment; it’s relaxed intensive preparation. I think the more you can stay relaxed, confident, and focused, the better your body responds to everything.
I’ve gone to meets where you start thinking too much and you get in this mental mindset where you’re not relaxed anymore. You’re now tense and over thinking. Its hard competing in that mindset.
BG: Have you had guidance in developing your mental edge?
BW: No, it’s mostly me. Once you get adrenaline going in a competition, the energy is there. You don’t have to create excitement; you don’t have to run around and stay all that warm. The body knows that it is in battle. It knows that the energy is going to be there.
If you can focus on a specific cue and not let internal butterflies interrupt you, if you can stay relaxed, this mindset is what I have found works best. As you build more and more confidence, you think less during the competition. You know what you are doing. It is the people who don’t have confidence instilled in them who sometimes over think under pressure and then they start losing their ability to execute more
On a summary of the decathlon…
“It’s like living an entire lifetime in two days. It has ups and downs and comebacks…Everybody loves life and it seems why people like it.”
Doha // Qatar will bid to host the 2024 summer Olympics, despite having failed to make the cut for the 2016 and 2020 Games, the Qatar Olympic Committee’s general secretary said yesterday.”We have tried it twice, and we will continue. It’s not something we will give up – it’s part of our vision to make Qatar a centre for sport,” Saoud bin Abdulrahman al Al Thani said.Qatar had proposed holding the 2020 Olympics in October to avoid the blistering summer heat. Qatar will host the World Cup football tournament in 2022 more
Holly Bleasdale who extended her national record to 4.71 to win the women’s Pole Vault and claim her Olympic berth.
It was a huge relief for the 20-year-old who jumped the third highest ever indoors this year but has struggled to reproduce that form in the outdoor season.
“Everyone who doubted me, I’ve just shown them and vaulted a new British record,” she said.
“For me, jumping 40 on the last try and 50 just shows what sort of character I am. I’ve shown grit, determination and I think it’s only a positive I can take from it.”
She’s certainly in a positive frame of mind now, even eyeing up the Yelena Isinbayeva’s World record.
“I’m vaulting much better than ever before. Everything seems to flow and seems easy, so I don’t see why I can’t crack it [the record].”
1 Steve LEWIS 5.50
2 Gregor MACLEAN 5.35 PB Continue reading
France’s Vanessa Boslak, who returned after a three-year injury absence to win the pole vault silver at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul in March, is aiming for victory in Helsinki.
The 30-year-old from Lesquin, whose career was in jeopardy until a fourth, and make-or-break, operation on her knee 18 months ago worked successfully, is now eager to take every competitive opportunity open to her.
Boslak, who set an indoor national record of 4.70 in finishing behind world record holder Yelena Isinbayeva in Istanbul, has managed 4.50 so far outdoors, which leaves her well outside the current top 10 in Europe. She won her national title in 4.40 on June 16.
Germany’s Silke Spiegelburg, who has an indoor best of 4.77m to her credit this year and tops the outdoor European listings – and puts her third in the world list – with the 4.76m she achieved in Prague on June 11, is looking a formidable force. She underlined her position with a 4.70 clearance to take the national title last weekend.
Lisa Ryzih, who finished one place behind Spiegelburg in Barcelona, was second in Wattenscheid with 4.65m while third was 2011 World Championships medallist Martina Strutz with 4.45m. All three are bound for Helsinki.
Irina Ptacnikova of the Czech Republic, whose runners-up effort of 4.72 in Prague puts her second in the European 2012 rankings, is also a major contender.
Meanwhile Poland’s double world silver medallist and European silver medallist of 2006, Monika Pyrek, indicated she is a force to be reckoned with by winning her national title in 4.45 – and she has a 2012 best of 4.50. more
June 25 – The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and Nike have unveiled their medal stand apparel and footwear for London 2012, with a special focus on American pride details.
This year, for the first time, there are three distinct medal stand outfits to be worn by medalists of different sports in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Each of the three looks features a modern interpretation of classic head-to-toe silhouettes that combine performance and innovation as well as sustainability.
Of the new clothing, USOC managing director of consumer products and licensing Peter Zeytoonjian said: “Nike has developed a groundbreaking concept for US athletes on the medal stand in London with innovative looks and thoughtful details that speak to American pride.”
These “thoughtful details” consist of Team USA badges stitched inside jackets above the heart and the nation’s flag and mottos featuring in unusual places that only the wearer might be aware of. more
On how she feels…
“It hasn’t set in yet; I feel like I am dreaming. I have dreamt about being an Olympian for as long as I can remember and this is just amazing.”
“I think I am the oldest competitor out there. I want to tell USA Track & Field not to forget about the older competitors. It has been a long career for me though. I have been a pole vaulter for 15 years. I just really want people to keep the older athletes in mind and that’s all I can say.”
On her current career…
“I have been competing unattached for 15 years. I was injured for a lot of years and I think people thought I was gone and fallen off. I was just working a lot of jobs after leaving Oregon.”
On competing at Hayward…
“There is no feeling like competing at Hayward. After I left I felt like I had let my fans down because I haven’t made an Olympic team since 2003. I just have to thank my loyal fans for sticking with me through everything.” more
On preparing for the Olympics…
“When I was young and did gymnastics I dreamt about that team, and then I did volleyball and dreamt about making the Olympic volleyball team. Here I made the pole vault team and I dreamt about this my entire athletic career.”
“The magnitude of this accomplishment…This really is a special feeling. I’m glad it’s over, glad I’m in.”
On competition mind games…
“I felt on. I was on point through 50. The wind kept blowing and I wasn’t sure if I needed to move up poles or stay and that was nerve-racking…I walked away and thought whatever happens I accept it. I was waiting for the sound of the crowd to tell me what happened. The sound of the crowd told me I was in third place and going to the Olympics.” more
Jenn Suhr, first place On making Team USA…
“This is always something you train and plan for. It hasn’t set in yet. You train for months and I’m happy to have the chance to represent Team USA.”
On her vaults…
“When I missed the first mark I knew I didn’t want an ’08 repeat, so I focused on the second to get it right.”
On her time off…
“It’s hard with down time because your mind will wander. I tried hard not to think about pole vault, and instead what colors I’ll paint my rooms when I get home. Anything to keep my mind off pole vault.” more
EUGENE, Ore. – If there’s a worse feeling in sports, it’s hard to imagine what it could be: Fourth place at the Olympic Trials.
Given what it means, Notre Dame graduate and South Bend resident Mary Saxer deserves credit for maintaining her composure as well as she did after she missed a spot on the U.S. Olympic team by one place Sunday afternoon.
Because it was tough.
“Yeah, it just hurts really bad,” said Saxer, who cleared 14 feet, 9 inches, the same as Nike’s Lacy Janson, before a boisterous sold-out crowd at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field.
American record holder Jenn Suhr cleared 15-1 for the win, while former Oregon star Becky Holliday went 14-11 for second. Saxer and Janson were both third.
The rules of pole vault declare that in the case of a tie, the vaulter who needed the least number of attempts to clear her last successful height is the winner.
Janson made it over 14-9 on her first try, while Saxer needed two attempts. Thus, Janson received the nod to go to the London Olympic later this summer, while Saxer is the team’s alternate.
“Clearing the same height as the third-place girl … pole vault gets you on misses,” Saxer said. “I was over that next height. It would have got me there, and I felt like I had it on my second attempt, but … that’s pole vault.” more
EUGENE, Ore. — Kent Whiting stood high in the stands at Hayward Field, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with his son’s name and trying to hold his emotions together. Ryan Whiting is an Olympian in the shot put, his young life’s work made good with one mammoth throw of that 16-pound orb. It flew 71 feet and three-quarters of an inch before landing in the dirt, and everyone watching Sunday at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials pretty much knew right then that Ryan would be heading to London. Before Kent could reflect on Ryan’s journey from his youth in Harrisburg, Pa., to this momentous occasion, he had to stop himself. He had to make sure a visitor knew about the boy’s mother.
“I wish she could be here,” Kent said. “She was his best fan ever, you know. I know she’s keeping track of him from somewhere.” Continue reading
British runner Sebastian Coe and Soviet-Ukrainian pole vaulter Sergei Bubka are the latest athletic greats to join the IAAF’s inaugural Hall of Fame. London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe and Soviet-Ukrainian pole vaulter Sergei Bubka are the latest athletic greats to join the IAAF’s inaugural Hall of Fame. Coe, the two-time Olympic 1500m champion, and Bubka are the latest names on the 24-strong inaugural list, with another five athletes to make up the inaugural class to 24. The official induction ceremony will take place at the IAAF Centenary Gala on November 24 in Barcelona. Those already named as members to mark the centenary year of athletics’ governing body include: Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Abebe Bikila, Paavo Nurmi, Emil Zatopek, Al Oerter, Adhemar da Silva, Ed Moses, Fanny Blankers-Koen, Betty Cuthbert, Wang Junxia, Irena Szewinska, Mildred Didriksen, Michael Johnson, Dan O’Brien and Alberto Juantorena. The decision to induct two IAAF vice-presidents Coe and Bubka was announced on Monday. more