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Adam Interviews Jenn Suhr

Churchville's famous pole vaulter reflects on her Olympic experience

CHURCHVILLE, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - Semi-retired.

That’s how Jenn Suhr, an Olympic gold medalist, describes her current relationship with pole vaulting.

“(My husband and I) got into RVing, we got into hiking and going around and visiting different places in New York State and close by and I enjoy that a lot and it’s just so much more peaceful than that putting everything you have into one meet and living and dying by your marks and your results, so right now, we’re just enjoying life,” Suhr said from her Churchville home.

In 2008, Suhr put everything into her performance in Beijing and took home the silver.

In 2012, Suhr again put everything into her performance in London vaulted her way to the top podium.

“Nothing is going to ever equal that gold medal and that experience and I can relive it like it was yesterday,” she said.

During both those trips, Suhr stayed in the Olympic Village.

“I didn’t like it,” she said. “It was very competitive. You see people with jackets that you know you’re going to be competing against, whether it was gymnasts or rowers and you just see that country and so then you start getting adrenaline.”

Adrenaline was not what she got in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

A devastating illness swiftly knocked her off her feet not long before her event began.

Her husband and coach, Rick Suhr, said then she had gone into Rio in the best shape of her life.

“When I talk about it too much that’s when I get emotional. It’s one of things that it is what it is and Rick is always saying don’t rely on one meet, don’t put everything into one meet, one result because it’s just the way it is. But that’s what you think the Olympics is … and so you do put everything into it and so when it didn’t come through, all that training, it was heartbreaking but coming out of it I was like, ‘Man, I could go from winning a silver to a gold to the disaster in Rio,’ but I have a story to tell and I think that’s going to matter in the future to younger generations,” Suhr said.

Jenn and Rick are now working with pole vaulters of the younger generation, a project that could one day turn into something more.

As for 2020?

“That’s a long ways away,” said.

Until then she’ll stay in shape and take care of her dog, cat, rabbit, and bird. And maybe, someday soon, a horse.

 


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