EUGENE, Ore. — Jenn Suhr’s pole vaulting career has taken off since she won the silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but her training situation remains grounded.
Suhr — known as Jenn Stuczynski before she married her coach, Rick Suhr — still trains in a cramped airplane hangar behind her home near Rochester, N.Y. Suhr has come close to hitting the hangar’s ceiling in practice several times, but she didn’t have to soar quite that high Sunday at Hayward Field to triumph at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials and win a berth at the London Games.
Suhr passed until the bar was set at 14 feet, 11 inches so the field would thin. “I thought about what rooms I’d paint when I get home and what color,” she said of her long wait.
She missed her first try but made her second attempt and later cleared 15-1 to top the field. University of Oregon alumna Becky Holliday made her first Olympic team at age 32 by placing second at 14-11. Lacy Janson of Tallahassee, Fla., took third at 14-9.
“It takes a while to set in,” Suhr said of her second Olympic berth. “I’m just thankful and blessed to have another chance to represent Team USA.”
Holliday credited the resources at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., for allowing her to continue her 15-year career despite injuries and frustration.
“I just want to tell USA Track and Field, ‘Please don’t forget about some of us older athletes,’ ” she said. “I actually think I’m in my prime. … All I can say is keep older athletes in mind.”
A throwback: Beijing discus gold medalist Stephanie Brown Trafton will get a chance to defend her title after winning the trials competition with a throw of 213 feet, 10 inches. Aretha Thurmond was second at 204-2 and Suzy Powell-Roos was third at 197-6.
Brown Trafton was emotional all day and nearly overcome before her final attempt.
“I was tearing up after my first throw,” she said, aware that her first effort of 207-8 would likely be good enough to win.
“Just to be able to go from two days ago, not knowing if I’d make the final, to making the Olympic team, it’s almost like going into the lion’s den and coming out the other side.”
Also: Marquise Goodwin, a wide receiver for Texas, might be busy when practices start. He made the long jump team with a leap of 27-4. … Reese Hoffa, the 2007 world shot put champion, won the trials title with a toss of 72-2 1/4, tops in the world this season.
By By Helene Elliott