MEDAL prospect Brad Walker goes to London 2012 knowing his latest crack at Olympic glory can’t fail to be better than his last.

The pole vaulter, who is part of the US team staying in Birmingham for London 2012, is one of the favourites for gold.

Just before he left for the UK the experienced American posted his highest jump for four years.

And he insists he has learned to deal with the pressure that saw him bomb out in Beijing where not only did he miss out on the final – he didn’t even register a height.

Walker described the qualifying competition as ‘‘a crazy situation’’ after it lasted four hours and took place after midnight in an empty stadium.

Even worse Walker was made to wait for more than two hours between his practice and competitive jumps.

And he then had another 45-minute delay after the pole vault stand broke.

“Beijing was devastating,” the 31-year-old former world champion admitted.

“I went in there with the highest jump of the year and left without any hardware.

“I had won a medal and have continued to win a medal at every World Championship I have been to.

“I love the way I compete under pressure and love the way I go into battle with the best vaulters in the world on a specific day, so to leave without a medal was a huge disappointment.

“But I think I learned valuable lessons in Beijing to carry forward.

“I have had a lot of personal growth over the last four years.

“As a more experienced athlete and understanding my body better I will do a better job this time round and I am going to be ready for anything.

“If I am waiting there four hours to take my first round jump so be it, I will be ready.

“I am not going in there thinking ‘I have to redeem myself’ but I have learned what I had to.

“I love my chances this time around and I am going to be in there being as calm and collected as I can.”

Only three men have gone higher than Walker this year and he picked up a bronze at the World Indoors in March.

That shows Walker, who has been the best in the USA since 2005, is back in the form that made him world champion in 2007.


Brad Walker

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