World champion pole vaulter: “Sky is the limit” with new track facilities

The opening of the Student Life and Recreation Center was a particularly exciting occasion for Olivet’s Department of Athletics. The track team gathered for a brief ceremony on the afternoon of December 12, 2012.

Together, the athletes and coaching staff took an inaugural lap around the new state-of-the-art Mondo track — the kind used at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Athletic Director Gary Newsome told the team, “I’m so happy for you to finally have this facility. But,” he added, “I hope you know that this place doesn’t have any magical value; you will only improve depending on how much work you put in.”

World champion pole vaulter and ONU alumnus Mark Hollis ’07 also made an appearance to help celebrate the next step in Olivet’s athletic program.

Hollis recalled spending hours practicing on the outdoor track when he was a student at Olivet. He admitted his success was not due to natural-born talent, but through hard work and determination. Over time, he learned to love the “process of improvement.”

Hollis told the team they are particularly poised for greatness. “With the combination of Olivet’s coaching staff, athletes, and now this new facility, the sky is the limit.”

Before he left, he challenged the team: “You guys have this amazing facility now. Cherish it. And defend it like a Tiger!”

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