When Cook Holliday was in the first grade in Rochelle, Wilcox County, he got on the bus after school one day, looked out the window and for the first time saw somebody pole vaulting. It intrigued him so much that when he got home to the family farm, he got an ax from the woodpile, went down to the swamp, cut a bamboo pole, put up standards and started pole vaulting himself. “I knew nothing at all about it,” he said.

Holliday was just living up to his mother’s nickname for him, “Bouncer,” because he was always jumping around as a toddler.

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