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

By Bill Livingston

Two Olympic medalists have been well-known 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 season. the opposite used to be a Cleveland homeboy too, a gold medalist who had flown larger than an individual ahead of at the Olympic degree. not often 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 nation meet, and he was once the 1st to confess he had a terror of heights. yet because of his unflinching choice and self belief, Mack went directly to turn out that he used to be whatever yet mediocre. In 2004 the younger athlete gained the Olympic gold medal for pole vaulting. His leap of nineteen toes 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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Additional info for Above and Beyond. Tim Mack, the Pole Vault, and the Quest for Olympic Gold

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Sadly, after his announcement, Phidippides fell dead, electrolyte-rich sports drinks not having been invented yet. The pole vault developed later and farther north. It took the skirmishes to the sky, so the gods lounging on Mount Olympus could enjoy them. Although the Celts and Cretans used poles in jumping competitions, the latter to clear charging bulls, the sport’s modern roots were in the Netherlands. Dutch farmers used poles to vault across drainage ditches in a land in which every foot of soil is below sea level.

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. USA Today rated pole-vaulting over 15 feet as the third-hardest feat in sports, behind hitting a major league pitch and driving a racecar 200 mph.

But he didn’t get to meet with James at all. Before the game began, Mack stood a couple of feet from the baseline on the court, across from the Cavs’ bench, and introduced himself. There was no caterwauling, rabble-rousing public address system intro for him, even though the team’s public address announcer greets each Cavaliers starter as if he invented the electric light. “I’m Tim Mack, the pole vault gold medalist at the Athens Olympics,” Tim said. Then, his voice spiking, he cried: “Cavaliers fans!

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