Flo Filion Meiler is at the University of Vermont’s indoor track and field practice sessions every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. By 9 a.m. sharp, the pole is in her hand and her eyes are laser-focused on the height she needs to clear. She’s the elder among a large group of student-athletes, her moppy silver hair and her enormous smile help her stand out in the crowd. That, along with the fact that she is 84 years old and training alongside college-aged students at daybreak.
Meiler takes her position, breathes in and then exhales. Ready for takeoff, her hands grasp the pole firmly. Her body lifts into the air as the pole makes contact with the ground. Her back arches over the bar and then a split second later, she lands gracefully on the other side, her feet safely planted back on the ground.