PHOENIX — Twelve years ago Nick Hysong won Olympic Gold in the Men’s Pole Vault Final at the Olympic games.

Hysong, who grew up in Winslow, Arizona, set a personal best that day with a jump of 5.90 meters.

He appeared on Good Morning Arizona to chat about his friend Brad Walker, who is representing the USA in the Men’s Pole Vault Final at the Olympic games in London.

Hysong said he is extremely excited to watch Walker and believes his friend, “has an extremely good shot to medal in the event.”

After spending a few years recovering from a back injury and surgery, Hysong tells 3TV Walker has “really found himself in a good place this year. He is mentally confident and has persisted through a few tough years. I have seen him really take a step back and enjoy his pole vaulting and training this year. His trials and enjoyable attitude should make him a strong competitor in Friday’s Pole Vault Final. So keep your prayers and attention on him.”

Weather could be a factor. The prelim looked to be a tough one, but several key athletes made it through to the final.

The 2008 Olympic Gold medalist Steven Hooker, Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie, and a full German team of three athletes will certainly give Walker a challenge.

There is a local connection too.

Brad Walker spent some time here in Phoenix earlier this year to prepare for the Olympic Games.

“Brad  was like a sponge when it came to learning from my experiences. I have a lot of respect for Brad, a vaulter that has a personal best 6 inches higher than my own, but he is humble enough to realize that the experience of others might help him in his own endeavors,” Hysong said.

“One of my biggest assets when I entered the Olympic Stadium in Sydney, Australia 12 years ago was my relaxed and confident attitude. I was there to enjoy the situation, enjoy performing my talent, and had a frame of mind that pole vaulting was easy,” Hysong stated. “My coach Greg Hull did a great job feeding that attitude and confidence. I had great support that year from NIKE and UCS Spirit (my pole sponsor). Family and friends support was and is a huge factor in an athlete success. A good support system is a key thing for the success of an athlete, and I think Brad has that this year. He certainly has me, my family and my athletes at RISEN Performance pulling for him!”

When it comes to the overall Olympic experience, Hysong offers insight some people might be surprised to learn.

“The Sydney Olympics was a great experience in my life, but contrary to what many people think it wasn’t the most important thing. I am a family man and love raising my children, supporting my wife and her interests and I love working with young aspiring athletes,” he remarked.

Hysong is currently teaching young athletes how to pole vault. He has also built a small facility to coach these kids privately.

His team of experts at RISEN Performance works with athletes in other track events as well along with volleyball players. Hysong’s wife played volleyball in college.  She is now a coach.

The couple uses their strengths to help all of the young people they work with.

Hysong also coaches at Chaparral High School.

“Not everyone is going to become a professional athlete, so the personal growth is the most important thing for me. There are lots of good qualities to learn from sports, goal setting, persistence, winning, losing, discipline, and commitment are just a few that come to mind.”

By: Kaley O’Kelley


Nick Hysong

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