LONDON — U.S. Olympic pole vaulter Jenn Suhr was minding her own business, working out in the weight room the other day, when she had a chance encounter with Kobe Bryant.
Suhr, an upstate New York native who won silver in Beijing as Jenn Stuczynski before she married her trainer, said members of the U.S. basketball team were in the weight room while she was working out and Bryant took notice of her difficult exercise on a high bar above the weights.
At one point, the basketball players were cheering on Suhr, who played college basketball at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester and is the school’s all-time leading scorer, in her workout, and then Bryant chatted with her for almost a half-hour.
“He just asked a lot about the event and he found out about her basketball background,’’ Suhr’s husband and coach Rick said. “Once he found out about that, he was really interested in women and women in sports. He talked about his daughters being athletes, starting to be athletes, and how he likes to influence them with role models. Then he asked for a picture with Jenn, which I thought was really cool.’’
Jenn said, “It was exciting. He was talking a lot about individual events, how it is to compete individually versus a team. So we talked a little bit about that, too. There’s a huge dollar-sign difference, you know? But really, we’re both here for the same kind of goal. The Olympics brings people, communities and countries together. That’s what it’s about.”
Asked if she told Bryant about her college hoop records, she joked, “I tried not to bring that up. No resumés.”
Suhr, a native of Fredonia, N.Y., a town 50 miles south of Buffalo, holds the U.S. women’s record at 4.92 meters (16-2) in the pole vault, and has 11 national titles indoor and outdoor.
by: Mark Cannizzaro