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 area in Cleveland, Ohio, days ahead of Christmas 2004. One was once 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 was once a Cleveland homeboy too, a gold medalist who had flown greater than someone sooner than at the Olympic level. infrequently someone knew his identify. He was once Tim Mack. His highschool trainer didn't see something rather 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 an apprehension of heights. yet because of his unflinching selection and self assurance, Mack went directly to turn out that he was once whatever yet mediocre. In 2004 the younger athlete gained the Olympic gold medal for pole vaulting. His bounce of nineteen toes 6–1/4 inches used to be not just Mack's own top however the optimum in Olympic background. 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

Example text

You have a gold medal, and he only has a bronze,” a reporter said as Mack returned to his seat. Mack smiled wistfully. “He has $100 million from Nike, though,” he said. He didn’t want to seem ungrateful to the Cavs, so he said it wasn’t a big deal that he didn’t get to talk to James. Then Mack reached inside his Team USA jacket and pulled the gold medal out that hung from his neck. “I could have said, ‘Hey, man. This is what one looks like,’” he said. Daredevils Almost alone among athletes, pole-vaulters slip the bonds of earth and gravity.

He was a great friend and a fine gentleman. I miss him. The great Texas columnist Blackie Sherrod, who could not write a note for the milkman without it being a small gem, encouraged me and wrote a fine essay about pole vaulting in the bamboo and sawdust days that gave me an appreciation for that era. Tom Surber of USA Track and Field provided phone numbers. My wife, Marilyn, suggested the title. My daughter, Sondra, typed many pages flawlessly. My friend, Leo Spagnola, reminded me it was a labor of love.

Velocity also directly relates to the size of pole that the vaulter can bend, which translates to height. 3 mph. The pole vault requires precise footwork on the runway, explosiveness on the takeoff, coordination on the pole, agility in getting off it, and the right stuff to even attempt the thing. It requires an all-out sprint while burdened with a cumbersome implement and exemplifying posture a runway model would envy. Other than that, anyone can do it. While world-class 100-meter men reach 25–26 mph, they aren’t carrying long poles.

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