NEW YORK, NY – Many persons are scared of heights, even when they are in the secured confines of an elevator. This is not the case with pole vaulters. They do not suffer from those jitters.

Only two women have ever cleared 5m outdoors in the pole vault, they are Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva, the world record-holder, who recently retired and American Sandi Morris.

American pole vaulter Sandi Morris … Photo credit: Robert Lombardo

Morris’ bubbly personality makes her a hit with fans worldwide, as she is always willing to give autographs and take pictures with them. Some of those fans cheered loudly until they became hoarse for the Rio silver medallist on Saturday (11 February), at the 110th NYRR Millrose games, where she was involved in a mouth-watering rematch with Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi of Greece.

There was nervous excitement all around at the New Balance Track & Field Centre at the Armory when the vaulters were lined up to be introduced. Saturday’s contest was very interesting although it did not match the intensity of the Olympic script in which four women cleared 4.80m for the first time in history. Nevertheless, there were a few nail-biting moments.

American pole vaulter Sandi Morris, right, … Photo credit: Robert Lombardo

After the preliminaries were out of the way, Stefanidi cleared 4.82m on her first attemptwhile Morris knocked the bar down on her first attempt at that height. Morris, in an effort toimprove her chances of victory, skipped her next two tries and raised the bar to 4.92m.

However, both athletes failed to clear the newheight giving victory to Stefanidi and ensuring the Olympic positions were not reversed.

Morris, who is extremely at ease during interviews, was in a reflective mood after her outing. “I’m a little bit frustrated; my body feels really good, it’s just a few things that were off.”

American pole vaulter Sandi Morris … Photo credit: Robert Lombardo

 

She knows competing at the highest level in a technical event like the pole vault requires paying close attention to the small details and so she is prepared to go back to the drawing board and working assiduously to be number one. “I really need to make a few adjustments, so it will be really good to go home and get some base training in and take it back to basics.”

The US Indoor Championships is her next competition and Morris, who is a fierce competitor, is itching to ascend to the jaw-dropping heights she reached in 2016. “The US indoor championships will be my last indoor meet and I’m really looking forward to working on my technique and getting ready to jump high. After that I’ll gear up for the outdoor season.”

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