Sam Kendricks won his first Team USA pole vault world championship.
Kendricks was the only competitor to clear a height of 5.95 meters in London at the IAAF World Championships.
Kendricks was the Army Reserve soldier who, during the Rio Olympics qualifiers, stopped mid-run to stand at attention as the U.S. national anthem rang throughout the stadium.
Kendricks went on to win bronze in the 2016 games.
“I don’t know if anyone can really understand the feeling of performing at a high level, for just a moment, in front of close to 60 to 70,000 people at once looking at you, but it’s a very humbling experience when you realize that you have to get either the consolation or the adulation of the crowd,” said Kendricks.
Kendricks said he has been training for over a decade and he continues to train at his old high school in Oxford.
“The next step for any professional track and field athlete is to make a living,” said Kendricks. “Every athlete from every level is trying to compete so that they can compete for prizes and sponsors and to elevate their country, but you only get the chance to jump for your country once every other year or every four years.”
“It’s really kind of a special occasion, and certainly we will be aiming for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo,” said Kendricks. “That is kind of a long range goal. I plan to be in the next two Olympic games. That is my goal, my career goal as an athlete. I want to be America’s guy in this event in 2020 and in 2024.”
Kendricks is coached by his father, Scott Kendricks, a retired marine.