It took three years of sacrifice, pain, and determination to find success in an afternoon. Last Saturday, Megan Jamerson edged out the competition to earn the rank of number fifteen in the United States while jumping 14’4” in the Women’s Pole Vault, just what she needed to be invited to the Olympic Trials.
Traveling yesterday morning to Eugene, Oregon (“Track Town U.S.A.”), Jamerson will be competing against twenty-three other women with only the final twelve advancing to “Finals” on Sunday; positions one, two and three will proceed to London. Friday will be a sea of emotions; Sunday, unbearable.
Training for Friday’s meet has been intense over the past few months as she began seeing her dreams within reach. Although affable and easy-going by nature, when training, the champion in Jamerson finds its way to the surface: the determination to swallow any doubts, the ability to push all distractions passed her peripheral vision and focus on being relaxed and fearless. Jamerson jumps almost daily with her coach, Greg Woepse and has been training at Stark in Irvine, California to help with her strength and explosiveness.
“Stark has been a great atmosphere for me to really get some work done and take my mind off of my event. The staff is great. They created a personalized training protocol for me, helping me get peaked for Friday. They’ve really helped my strength, but also my confidence.”
“The last two months has been focused on taking all of the weight-room strength she has developed over the past three years and transfer it to pole-vaulting strength,” says Brad Davidson, V.P. of R & D at Stark. “The last few weeks included an intense taper to create a central nervous system super compensation response, resulting in her jumping her best at the upcoming trials.”
Her family has been a big support as well. Attending many of her meets, her father sometimes plays the role of substitute coach if Woepse isn’t available, video taping her jumps, reviewing her form and steps while Megan is resting. Like all fathers, he sees his bright-eyed little girl with her distant dreams of becoming an Olympic Champion, wanting the best for her but at the same time, not wanting her to hurt.
Jamerson of Laguna Niguel, a suburban town in southern Orange County, California, first fell in love with pole-vaulting at a camp in middle school. Her natural athletic ability was immediately recognized as she progressed through high school and was recruited to UCLA. Having what she considered a mediocre Senior-year, she decided to continue after graduating. “I wasn’t jumping my best, so I wanted more,” says Jamerson.
Immediately following UCLA, she was seriously injured, taking her out for the entire season; then, after a year of rehab, she dislocated her ankle during a fall. Two and a half years after college, still holding onto her Olympic dreams, she slowly re-built her confidence and is now ready, calm and sure.
“Friday will be a stressful but exciting day for us at Stark,” says Jesse Gawinkse, one of Starks team of professional Strength Coaches. Gawinske has not only helped her through training, but has been by her side at some of the meets. “It’s exciting and fun to be a part of the life of such an elite athlete who is also so easy to be around.”