Familiar faces back for more at the Olympics
Phelps, Bolt, Suhr are among the returnees looking to enhance their Olympic legacies.
The women’s pole vault could be among the highlights of the Games. It’s an attractive sport with a flamboyant defending champion in Isinbayeva, a strong American challenger in Suhr, and a deep field that includes a rising 20-year-old Englishwoman, Holly Bleasdale.
“It’s huge,” Rick Suhr said. “You can’t even get a ticket right now. The women’s pole vault is as attractive as any event. You have a two-time champ and world record-holder. You have five or six of the top six who ever jumped in this meet, including the returning gold, silver and bronze medalist. Yelena is the favorite by far. It would be the single biggest win of the Games, hands-down, to beat her. You’re talking David and Goliath here.”
Jenn wasn’t nearly so effusive about the rematch. Perhaps she learned her lesson before Beijing, when she said she was going to China to “kick some Russian butt.” It was a good-natured jab, but no one – including the media and Isinbayeva – would let her forget it.
“It is what it is,” Jenn Suhr said of her rivalry with Isinbayeva. “I approach every meet as if anyone can beat you on any given day. There’s some very good jumpers out there. It’s never one person I’m concerned about, but the entire field. That’s why it’s important on the runway to tune everything out. There’s so much that can rattle you. We’ve gotten good at these meets at focusing on what’s at hand.”
The Suhrs like to treat the Olympics like any other meet, but they understand it’s the one international meet that captures the nation’s attention. It would mean a lot to Jenn’s reputation, not to mention her pocket book, if she won gold. For one thing, she would become the first Buffalo athlete to win an Olympic summer gold since Christian Laettner with the original Dream Team in 1992.
by: Jerry Sullivan