Jenn Suhr won an Olympic gold medal in 2012, but that didn’t stop her from making a major equipment change at the adidas Grand Prix in New York City.
Suhr, the Riga native, switched from an all fiberglass pole to a pole that’s part carbon and part fiber glass. She finished second in the pole vault on Saturday with a jump of 4.70 meters (15 feet, 5 inches), a tenth of a meter behind Fabiana Murer of Brazil.
Her coach and husband, Rick Suhr, said this was the year to experiment without a major championship on the line this year.
“The carbon poles are lighter and we’re switching because the meets become much longer,” Rick Suhr said. “We’re in the infield so long that Jenn has to warm up and wait two hours to compete. The lighter pole helps because these meets have become meets of endurance.”
Jenn Suhr said she switched so as to not leave with any regrets.
“I didn’t want to end my career wondering if I could have done something more,” Jenn said. “It’s a different feeling. I’ve had to change my approach, I’ve had to change my vault and it feels different when I swing. It’s a lot to get used to.”
Rick Suhr said using the pole for the first time would be dangerous if she went all-out from the start.
“She took the shortest run of anyone in the meet, about 80 percent of length she usually runs,” Rick Suhr said. “Jenn going 80 percent still puts her in the mix as one of the best in the world with everyone else going 100 percent.”
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