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Jenn Stuczynski Suhr: From Basketball Star to Pole Vault Champion

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Jenn Stuczynski Suhr: From Basketball Star to Pole Vault Champion

Jenn Stuczynski Suhr

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
When Jenn Suhr cleared her first height at the 2012 Olympics - 4.55 meters (14 feet, 11 inches) - on her initial attempt, she probably didn't know how important the vault would become. Both she and Cuba's Yarisley Silva went on to clear 4.75/15-7 on their second attempts, but an earlier miss by Silva, combined with Suhr's previously spotless record, gave the American the gold medal at the London Games. Suhr - known as Jenn Stuczynski before her 2010 marriage to Rich Suhr - went on to break the indoor world pole vault record when she cleared 5.02/16-5½ at the U.S. Indoor Championships in 2013.

Hoop Dreams:

A multi-sport athlete at New York’s Fredonia High School, Suhr won the state pentathlon championship, but entered college as a basketball player. In 2003-04 she averaged 24.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game while leading Roberts Wesleyan to the NAIA championship game. She graduated as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,819 points.

Quick Study:

Suhr began pole vaulting in 2004. In 2005 she not only won the NAIA Indoor Championship, but surprisingly won the U.S. Indoors as well, with a vault of 4.35 meters. The all-around athlete also set school records in the javelin, high jump and 400-meter hurdles at Roberts Wesleyan, and was a part of school record-setting 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relay teams.

Tribulations at the Trials:

Suhr came within one jump of failing to qualify for the 2008 Olympics. She began jumping at 4.60 meters and missed her first two attempts. A third miss would’ve knocked her out of the competition, but she cleared easily. Having regained her form, she first exceeded Stacy Dragila’s former Olympic Trials record of 4.75 meters, then Suhr broke her own U.S. record by clearing 4.92 meters on her third attempt. She went on to earn a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics.

Other Career Highlights:

Suhr finished second in the 2008 World Indoor Championships. Through the 2013 U.S. Indoor Championships, Suhr had won two Olympic Trials titles plus four other U.S. outdoor championships, as well as seven American indoor titles.

Stats:

  • Height: 6-0
  • Weight: 141
  • Birth date: February 5, 1982
  • Hometown: Fredonia, New York
  • Personal Best: 5.02 meters (16 feet, 5½ inches)

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