NORTH CHILI — When it was down to two pole vaulters in the Olympic final — Riga’s Jenn Suhr and Cuba’s Yarisley Silva — a hush came over the 300-plus people in attendance Monday at Ellen Stowe Dining Room in Garlock Commons at Roberts Wesleyan College.

It was the first silence in nearly two hours for those gathered at the “Suhr Sundaes” viewing party, a community celebration for the 2004 Roberts Wesleyan graduate. And after Suhr missed her second attempt at 15 feet, 9 inches (4.80 meters), it was announced that Suhr would win either the silver or gold medal.

“It doesn’t matter,” someone yelled, “because Jenn is going to clear her next attempt.”

Suhr, 30, didn’t make her next height, but it didn’t matter as Silva also failed to clear. Those gathered went wild. It was evident that the entire crowd was behind Suhr as they adorned their London 2012 pins and ate their sundaes from their golden bowls with golden utensils.

Suhr, who won silver at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, won the gold medal as she cleared 15-7 on her second attempt. Silva cleared the same height on her second attempt, but she finished second on misses.

“We talked to her when we saw her working out at the Rochester Fitness Center,” said Adam DeSantis, 88, of Chili, who brought his 8-year-old granddaughter, Elaina, to the viewing party. “She was so humble and nice. We are so proud of her. When she was starting out, who would’ve thought that she would succeed on an international stage? She is our idol. We are rooting for her. My goodness, she is our idol.

“That scene was fantastic. It was the best event I’ve ever been to. I mean it.”

Those gathered from the Roberts Wesleyan community echoed those sentiments.

“This is unprecedented certainly for the colleges in this region to have a two-time Olympian, a two-time medalist, a silver and a gold medalist,” Roberts Wesleyan College President John Martin said. “This is just going to do great things for Jenn and for us.


Roberts Wesleyan community
Roberts Wesleyan community

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