HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — Katerina Stefanidi grew up in Pallini, a suburb outside Athens, Greece — the child of track athletes. She picked up the vaulting pole at just 10 years old.

“I believe from a young age we find something we have potential in and strive to reach the top in whatever it may be,” she told the Star Beacon. “This is the system I was raised in … from a young age, I aspired to be the best in the world.”

Sixteen years, broken youth world records, one Stanford scholarship and an NCAA title later, Stefanidi donned her first Olympic gold for pole vaulting at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

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