Tuesday, October 13, 2009

World Champion!!

The Gold Medal - Click on Any Photo to Enlarge
The M55 & M60 Medal Winners

The M55 Winners, Allen Williams, Me & Phil Carrero

We did it!! Congratulations and thank you so much!! I don't think you have any idea how much support you have been just by being here. I feel grateful and more blessed than any person deserves to be. My humblest gratitude goes out to you all. So how did it go today? The bottom line is that I won the gold medal at the World Masters Games to earn the title of World Champion and set a new World Masters Games meet record in the process. Since this competition is every four years I am at least assured the record for that long. I vaulted 4m (13' 1 1/2") and stopped because I felt I might be risking injury as my body was starting to break down from the long and exhausting day. The 2nd place mark was 3.50m (11' 5 1/2") by Allen Williams of Great Britain who looked fantastic at 12' 1 1/2" but the wind got the better of him too. Third place was my friend Phil Carrero of Australia at 3m (9'10 1/2").

JEEZ - this was by far the most stressful and challenging competition of my entire pole vault career. Let's start with the constant 20-40 mph winds that were all over the place but never a tail. The marks for the day showed it too except for mine. The wind was mainly a headwind or cross wind or some blend of each. When I post the 4m video tomorrow you will be able to hear the wind HOWLING. Next, we knew I would get no run throughs and I would have to wait around. It was two hours before my first vault and I missed my first jump because I was too close to the box with my take off foot. Allen started at 11' 5 1/2" and made it the first jump and then passed 3.60m (11' 9 3/4") where I started. I missed my first jump so he's in the lead. I made it on the 2nd with huge sigh of relief because I had just secured at least the silver medal.
At 3.70m (12' 1 1/2") Allen was up first and he missed whereas I made it on the first jump to take the lead. Allen looked just super on all three attempts but couldn't find a way to leave the bar up. I felt bad for him and let him know it because he looked so much better than the mark he got credit for. We'll stay in touch as I really enjoyed hanging out and talking with him.

So at this point I've won the meet so I need to switch to vaulter mode to let my vault buddies know what took place. Warm up went great. My mission was to send a message to the group and myself a powerful statement considering the conditions - I simply said to myself and acted upon the statement, "WHAT WIND? I don't feel any wind". I bought into it and made myself believe it and that was the difference. I made 12' 2" in warm easy and had a very close jump at 13' 2" at a time when the other guys were just starting to get on the runway for their warm ups. I felt fantastic as all of our plans leading up to today were perfect as I could have, or have ever done them.

After 3.70m I decided to stay on track and work through some poles and runs. I'm now the only vaulter remaining so I'm jumping alone. I had made 3.60m and 3.70m from 55' so Alan Launder said I should move back and move up poles to set me up for later. I did as I was advised and moved back to 65' and skipped my 4.30/16.2 and went to the 15.9 and made 3.80m (12' 5 1/2") on the first vault. Alan wanted me to stay on the pole for the next height so I did and cleared 3.90m (12' 9 1/2") on my first attempt. Comfortable that my technique was back on, Alan had me move up to the next pole for 4m (13' 1 1/2"). Surprisingly the pole was too small so we moved up again to the biggest pole I brought, the 4.30m/15.7 and I just bombed over the bar with close to 9" of height. At this point I've been the only one vaulting for four of my last five clearances so I stopped. I had them raise the bar to 4.10m (13' 5 1/4") but stopped as I didn't want to risk injury. By this point it was 5:40 PM and I did my warm up at 2 PM, sat for two hours and then jumped almost by myself for 40 minutes. I was starting to feel a little crampy and dehydrated so I did the smart thing and quit while i was ahead and uninjured. I used six of the seven poles I brought having skipped one in the middle of the order (16.2), my normal start pole.

My buddy Tom Rauscher got 2nd in the M60, who jumped with us. It was really funny in warm up because he asked this huge guy from Sweden when he was coming in and Anders told him "whenever you go out". I told Tom congratulations that Anders thinks he will get the silver. It turned out that Anders beat him by a miss and had Tom made 3.20 (10' 5 1/2") he would have won. Nice group for the Americans.

OK gang, it's nearly 11 PM and I'm dead but still want to go down and post this info and photos. I went to dinner with Alan and a good friend of his that was a longtime throws coach. Of course I picked his brain on lifting but it was a long evening after an extremely long day. So thanks again!! Words cannot describe my appreciation. Bruce Caldwell of Essx - you are the man - you make the best poles and you got them here safely for me. I'm thrilled to give you and Essx another World Champion. Kris Allison is my coach, confidant and great friend. All year long we've talked about this day and our plan has been modified a thousand times as we went. There is no way this happens without you!! Deano - today was an all AC/DC day for music. It reminds me of the grinds we used to do in the weight room. Dan West, John Altendorf and Kirk Benz - thanks for throwing in your two cents over this blog and for all of the years you have been so supportive. Your friendship is invaluable. My medical team for piecing me back together and helping we to work around dings and annoyances. Charlie Bier of our local paper who brings attention to our sport so we can recruit and help young kids in the community. Andrew Custodio for takig videos today. It was a very long day for him too. I certainly have other thanks but I'm too exhausted tonight. But last for tonight and every night is the love of my life, my wife Nancy!! She continues to amaze me with her grace and patience. She is my everything and tireless supporter. I can't wait to get home and see her and the rest of you. Thanks again and

I'll have another wrap up or two as I'll have some other thoughts plus I want to share with you some of the funny cultural differences and terms/sayings that I found humorous. For example - Tiger Woods is coming in November. We have that stupid guy you always here who thinks he's Bill Murray in Caddyshack who screams "get in the hole". Well they say "Yabadado" like Fred Flintstone after the tee shot. Great people these Ozzies. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Good night. Bubba



    Congratulations WORLD CHAMPION CHAMPION !!!

    We could not have a better representative for the U S of A and all vaulters everywhere. Thanks for the great ride!

  2. Austin wants to know if it's real gold.

  3. Well-Deserved after all the hard work you've put it - muchas Congrats!


  4. Congratulations Bubba. I look forward to more stories of your adventure.

    - John

  5. Congrats. I've been following your path to Sydney. Great Job.You battled injuries, weather and world class competitors to win the gold medal in the sport that you love. I'm 64,and get my chance to perform next week in Phoenix at the Mens Senior Baseball League World Series.We actually play Australia in the third round.Once again, great job...a follower...bookemdanosports

  6. You go Dan!! Please let me know how you do. All the best and thanks for following!! Bubba