USA’s 2012 Olympic pole vault champion Jenn Suhr, who is set to compete at this weekend’s IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris, passes on some advice to her teenage self.


You’re such a shy, self-conscious girl. Being a lanky 5ft 9ins at the age of 13 has led you to worry about whether you fit in. It’s part of that awkward teenage phase.

You are also not one for being the centre of attention. I know you enjoy basketball, but there is nothing worse for you than playing matches in public with everybody watching.

Your self-conscious nature has also made you afraid to try new things. Remember at high school when the person who could do the most pull-ups was selected to try out for the pole vault? Well, you became too nervous at the possibility of failing, so opted instead for the hurdles.

Remember: don’t be worried if things don’t work out. You don’t have to be perfect. Everyone has to start somewhere.

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