Former GVSU pole vaulter’s Olympic dream far from over

Kristen Hixson came up just short of Rio Olympics, looks ahead to future

Grand Valley State track and field alumna Kristen Hixson will continue her pole vaulting career after coming up just short at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Eugene, Oregon July 10.

“I just enjoy it,” she said. “I have fun doing it. A lot of people try to find a passion in their life and some people don’t ever. I feel really blessed to have a passion like this and to be able to pursue it. I always tell myself the day I’m not having fun anymore, the day that it is not a passion of mine, is the day that I want to be done. Until that day, I’m going to keep going.”

The 24-year-old finished ninth at the trials with a height of 4.50 meters, but there wasn’t even a brief moment when she considered retirement from the sport she has dedicated herself to.

“As soon as I was done and feeling all those emotions, it was, alright, what’s next?” she said. “That’s how I knew everything was going to be okay, and the next four years are going to be a great journey, even better than these last couple were.”

Hixson cleared the 4.35-meter bar in the qualifying round of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials July 8. That one vault was all she needed to advance to the event final July 10.


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