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Suhr breaks championship record, Americans take home medals as pole vault takes center stage at Portland 2016

3/17/2016
 

PORTLAND, Oregon -- In the greatest women’s pole vault competition in track & field history, it was a picture-perfect Jenn Suhr who added World Indoor gold to her Olympic title with a perfect card through 4.90m/16-0.75.


Suhr (Fredonia, New York) took only four vaults in the competition as Team USA swept the pole vault for the first time at World Indoors since Russia did it in 2003. Sandi Morris won silver with a 4.85, equaling the best-ever height for place.


After easily clearing 4.60m/15-1 and 4.75m/15-7, and passing on the heights in between, Suhr sailed over 4.85. A first-attempt clearance at 4.90/16-0.75 broke the meet record of 4.86, set by Yelena Isinbaeva of Russia in 2004.


Morris (Greenville, South Carolina) made her first three bars before just nicking the crossbar at 4.75m/15-7, a height she easily cleared on her second attempt. She had first-attempt clearances at 4.80 and 4.85 before missing twice at 4.90m/16-0.75 and once at 4.95m/ on her way to earning silver. Her 4.85 equaled the best-ever height for place.


In the men’s competition, France’s Renaud Lavillenie cleared a IAAF World Indoor Championships record at 5.90m/19-4.25, picking up the gold medal.  


In the U.S.’s highest placing since Brad Walker’s silver in 2008, Team USA’s Sam Kendricks (Oxford, Mississippi) cleared four bars with ease before missing his first attempt at 5.80m/19-0.25. He then passed until the bar saw 5.85m/19-2.25 where he missed his first attempt them passed again. The bar at 5.90m/19-4.25 proved too tough to overcome, with Kendricks claiming second place.


Mike Arnold (Carson City, Nevada), competing on his first World team, finished in eighth place after clearing three bars, with a final clearance of 5.65m/18-6.50.


Competition continues Friday at the Oregon Convention Center where 6,924 attended Friday’s opening session. The women’s pentathlon begins at 11:15 a.m. (PT). A full event schedule can be found here.


Tickets are still available on Portland2016.com. Join the conversation with USATF on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #Portland2016.

 

Fans can watch the IAAF World Indoor Championships on NBCSN with USATF.TV’s The Cool Down following daily NBCSN coverage.

 

TV Coverage

Friday

11:15 a.m.-2:45 p.m. — NBC Sports Live Extra

5-9 p.m. — NBC Sports Live Extra

9:30-11 p.m. — NBCSN (tape-delayed)

Saturday

11 a.m.-2 p.m. — NBC Sports Live Extra

5-8 p.m. — NBC Sports Live Extra

6:30-8 p.m. — NBCSN (live)

Sunday:

12:30-3 p.m. — NBC Sports Live Extra

1-3 p.m. — NBCSN (live)


Team USA Medal Table

Gold (1)

Jenn Suhr, women’s pole vault


Silver (2)

Sam Kendricks, men’s pole vault

Sandi Morris, women’s pole vault


Quotes

Jenn Suhr, gold medalist - women’s pole vault

“It was great to complete my indoor season with the world indoor title, and I’ve jumped a championship record today, a world record earlier. But I still feel like there is so much more in me in terms of performance, so I strive to do better.


About competition strategy

“I hate to skip heights. But it’s something you have to do in the pole vault. My coach and husband was making the calls on that and I just had to trust him.”


About the event presentation

I love the way the competition was set up having the crowd so close, being able to feel the energy. Especially, being in the US, we definitely could feel that home field advantage. It’s especially good that it has happened in the Olympic year. Because with the Olympics so close, you don’t want to be too stressed out at this point.


Sandi Morris, silver medalist - women’s pole vault

“Competing professionally is a whole different ball game, but I still get to have fun and I love it to death. This is the year of the women’s pole vault movement. We’re going to start seeing more girls jump higher heights at younger ages -- like Eliza (McCartney). She jumped a 4.80 and she’s 19. That’s unheard of.”


“The crowd was amazing, they really knew what was going on.”


“It was so great to be able to make eye contact and acknowledge the girls’ presence (watching on the track.) I actually pulled a rose out and threw it to the girls.”


Sam Kendricks, silver medalist - men’s pole vault

“It feels indicative of a hard season. Me and my coach have really tried to evaluate what it takes to be competitive at this level. We took a step ahead last year and I chose to forego my last year as an Ole Miss Rebel to get some experience on the world stage. To be out here with all these guys is really cool. Having that experience at World Outdoors, I’ve never done my best at my first championship: NCAAs, USAs...I always figure out how to be competitive on my second.”


Mike Arnold, eighth place - men’s pole vault

“I felt good coming in from warm-ups. Made first bar, kind of blew through the second bar. I skipped a few (heights) so I went up two sticks. I kind of dialed it in. I did it the hard way, but I wish I would’ve made a few bars a little earlier and a little cleaner. I would have had a chance at 5.75. That caught up to me, but at my first World Championship? This was good; it was fun.”



Amanda Brooks
Marketing and Communications Manager
USA Track & Field
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