London 2012 Pole Vaulting: Amid history in the making

EDINBURGH, Scotland – It never fails. After an Olympics, people always ask the same question: What was your favorite moment or event? I’m not even back yet, and I’ve heard it five times.

My answer is always the same, too. How can I possibly choose one?

Years from now, when I sit down with my grandchildren, I won’t rank my best Olympic moments. They’ll pour out of me in a random babble. When they ask which was my favorite, I’ll have an answer ready: It would be like choosing my favorite grandchild.

All right, if Jake Kaminski put an arrow to my head, I’d have to say Fredonia’s Jenn Suhr’s winning gold in the pole vault. Following the “locals” is one of the happy parts of the job. It gets you to events you might not otherwise see. You have a sense of duty to honor the local athlete’s achievement.

When your local becomes a big international story by winning gold, it’s an unforgettable thing. I’m supposed to be objective, but I felt a surge of joy for Suhr when she won. Just before that, waiting for Yarisley Silva’s final vault was two of the most excruciating minutes you could imagine.

Suhr wanted that gold medal so badly. She was like a little girl in the mixed zone afterwards, talking about winning for all the people back home. She showed great class afterward by talking about how much she respected her rival, Yelena Isinbayeva, who had a high standard.

It was a great moment, seeing Jenn and Rick Suhr, her husband/coach, sobbing in each other’s arms.

They went through a lot of grief in Beijing. It was funny when a half-dozen reporters began chanting “Rick, Rick, Rick” because they wanted him allowed into the mixed zone to talk. They knew he would give some memorable quotes. He didn’t disappoint, comparing Jenn’s win to the U.S. hockey team’s upset of the Soviets in Lake Placid.

I always feel lucky at the Olympics. It was more so in London, where the great moments kept on coming.

by: Jerry Sullivan


Jenn Suhr
Jenn Suhr

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