By Raaj Datta
Jenn Suhr appeared to be focused and left the talking to her coach and husband, Rick Suhr. Post the silver haul at the Beijing Olympics, where Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva beat her, Jenn has been waiting for her moment at the Olympics to get another shot.
Jenn Suhr was one of the 38 women to compete in two groups for the 12 spots for the Monday finale. At the qualifier, Jenn tied with Yarisley Silva of Cuba and Russia’s Isinbayeva. Of all the 12 athletes who will fight for the top three spot on Monday, these were the only 3 athletes who cleared the 4.55-metre mark without any error.
All the three American women including Jenn Suhr, Becky Holliday, and Lacy Janson are past the qualifying round and heading to the pole vault finals. The 20-year-old pole vault star, Holly Bleasdale, from Great Britain has also made it to the finals. Apart from Isinbayeva, she’s also the one to keep eyes on.
After clearing through the bar, Jenn went to the far end of the stadium to speak with her coach and husband, Rick. The training and determination of the duo seems to have materialized close to her goal.
For Isinbayeva, the London Olympics is a real challenge where she will be on her third straight gold. Isinbayeva is the world record holder with 5.06 metres (16 feet, 7 inches). The calm composure that Jenn is displaying is because she knows the event will challenge her both physically and mentally. Her coach, Rick Suhr, admits that Isinbayeva has been the most dominant pole vaulter in the Olympics for almost a decade.
Rick has left no stone unturned to hype the match, even comparing it to the likes of Rocky IV. Rick says that a win for Jenn would be monumental and perhaps her greatest so far. Isinbayeva is the toughest opponent as of the moment, but Jenn has her focus intact.
Back in the May this year, Jenn tore her quadriceps which could have easily derailed her career. There were solid doubts whether she would be able get herself together before the trials. When it was time for the trials, Jenn missed her first try. But the second attempt saw her fly through the bar and she cleared 4.60 meters (15 feet, 1 inch).
Jenn was thankful for her second Olympic entry as well as the second chance to represent her country. She has on her side her indomitable spirit that has helped her get past the obstacles. In her 7-year pole vaulting career, she has 10 US National titles to her name and has held the USA Outdoor title four times and the USA Indoor title six times.
The US pole vaulter was diagnosed with Celiac disease in 2011, which caused her constant fatigue and cramps. Jenn altered her diet and made a successful return to the top before the season ended. She went through obstacles like no other, but every time – there she was standing side-by-side her competitors.