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By Kimo
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Kimo's Pole Vault Page

Pole vaulters have inverted personalities!!!

On A Stick

CSU Fullerton, 1994
I competed in the pole vault through high school (Torrance HS, Ca) and college (UC Santa Barbara). It was once said to me that "pole vaulters, as a rule, are a few bricks short of a load". Hmm... interesting... I always thought of myself as lighter than most other athletes, but... how does the weight of a brick play into all this? We all know it to be a fact... IF YOU ARE A POLE VAULTER (Yes, I mean YOU), THEN YOU ARE CRAZY! So, be proud of it! Not many people are willing to intentionally compress a fiberglass pole (that would much rather be straight) with full force, turn themselves upside-down, and catapult themselves over a slender object in the sky only to tumble inevitably back to the earth. Why do we do it? You and I know it doesn't always work out the way we plan it. Some days, we're soaring to new heights, while other days, you'd think we were aiming for the shot put rings across the field. Why do we subject ourselves to shin splints, sore muscles, ultra-sound, ice bags, and chalk stained hands that are so callused, they resemble ground beef? We do it because it is challenging. Pole vaulters like challenges! Sure, easy is safer, but then again, those sissies who do easy things will never know the rush of clearing the crossbar when the pressure is on.
La Cumbre Annual,

UC Irvine
quad meet
My personal record in competition is 5.00 meters (16' 4 3/4"). You may wonder how a 124 pound short guy might catapult his body over a bar over 16 feet in the air. Well, there's no magic involved... it's all physics! By no means am I a "great" pole vaulter. Most world-class vaulter's opening heights are higher than my personal record! But, I'll bet not many of them can derive the equation that describes the physics of the pole vault. I have always enjoyed sharing my technical understanding of pole vault basics, and will attempt to answer any questions, should you E-Mail me with such a request. For those of you who wish to learn a bit about pole vault physics, check out my PHYSICS OF THE POLE VAULT page.

West Torrance
HS Invitational
March 2002

Of course, if it weren't for coaches, where would we be? Indeed, good coaching is essential in a highly technical event like the pole vault. I owe all my success to the coaches in my past -- most notably Don Kalmar, Bill Blewett and Gerry Morro.

Coach Kalmar was my pole vault coach through my highschool days. Under his tutelage I gained confidence in my abilities as a vaulter. We all know that the highly technical nature of the vault requires that the vaulter be proficient and confident. Coach Kalmar instilled the basics of the vault in me, and taught me to think analytically about what I was doing. Of course, Kalmar instilled this in more than one way... it turns out he was also my first algebra teacher. So I suppose, it was his influence that got me interested in math and ultimately encouraged me to pursue higher education.

Coach Blewett has been molding world class vaulters since the early 1970s, and was one of the first coaches to implement "the big left arm" in the United States. The list of vaulters coached by Bill is extensive, but the most memorable ones are Tom Hinthaus (won the 1980 U.S. Olympic Trials), Dave Kenworthy (won the 1982 NCAA meet), John Switzer, and Greg Woopse. Bill coached at the University of Southern California for 7 years, after which he retired to the city of Torrance. He just happened to move two blocks from the Torrance High School track during my fledgling years as a beginning vaulter, and the rest is history. Few coaches can rival Blewett's level of understanding of vault mechanics.

Coach Morro was a Canadian olympic decathelete in 1964 and 1972. Gerry has a good understanding of vault mechanics and still occasionally coaches in the Santa Barbara area.   The thumbnail of Bill and Gerry was taken at the 1994 California Chamionship Meet at UCLA - Gerry on the left and Bill on the right.

Gerry, left
Bill, right

Click for information and results for the Beach Pole Vault Challenge!

There are only a few pages devoted to us hard-souled pole vaulters. Here are a few key ones: Also, for a complete list of Track and Field related links, visit:

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Revised: January 22, 2004

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