Above and Beyond. Tim Mack, the Pole Vault, and the Quest by Bill Livingston

By Bill Livingston

Two Olympic medalists have been famous at Quicken Loans enviornment in Cleveland, Ohio, days ahead of Christmas 2004. One used to be the Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James, the "Chosen One" of the NBA. He had a bronze medal from the Athens video games that summer time. the opposite used to be a Cleveland homeboy too, a gold medalist who had flown better than an individual ahead of at the Olympic level. rarely someone knew his identify. He used to be Tim Mack. His highschool trainer didn't see whatever relatively promising within the younger pole–vaulter. Mack by no means made it to the kingdom meet, and he used to be the 1st to confess he had an apprehension of heights. yet due to his unflinching decision and self assurance, Mack went directly to end up that he was once something yet mediocre. In 2004 the younger athlete received the Olympic gold medal for pole vaulting. His bounce of nineteen ft 6–1/4 inches used to be not just Mack's own most sensible however the maximum in Olympic historical past. Award-winning activities columnist invoice Livingston follows Mack as he practices one of many world's...

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One wonders. ” In fact, some coaches believe it is impossible to compare post-2003 performances with those that went before it with more forgiving pegs. Many track and field fans speak of the years after 2003 as the beginning of the “clean clearance” era. The pole vault was one of the last events in track and field to yield to gender equity. Because of its danger and difficulty, it was an Olympic sport for men only until the Sydney Games in 2000. The arrival of women with their skimpy costumes and record-setting binges brought a whole new set of fans to the sport.

He didn’t start with such equanimity. Like any other kid, he wanted gratification now, yesterday if possible. But the pole vault is not like gymnastics or figure skating, in which athletes hit their peak before the onset of puberty. Pole-vaulters slowly get the hang of the event. Bubka was an anomaly, winning the first of his six straight World Championships at the age of nineteen. For most pole-vaulters, however, the event is a struggle out of the old, bloody Greek dramas. C. No wonder frustration got the better of Mack for years.

Mack came to the event not from an internal imperative to conquer his fears, although he was afraid of heights. He was drawn to the topsyturvy world by default. ” The quality that would take him to Athens was there even then. Tim Mack was the most persistent and least daunted kid in his neighborhood or any other. Like snow on the iron-hard ground of late fall in northern Ohio, like tape, like your shadow, he stuck to it. “It’s always been a part of me. I’d be in the batting cages for an hour at a time before baseball season.

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