73-Year-Old Pole Vaulter Still Raising the Bar

By: Chinh Doan Email
By: Chinh Doan Email
About 150 pole vaulters leapt high into the air this weekend in Central Texas, but amongst the high jumpers was someone you might not expect to see.

73-year-old pole vaulter.

BELTON (December 29, 2012) -- About 150 pole vaulters leapt high into the air this weekend in Central Texas, but amongst the high jumpers was someone you might not expect to see.

Don Isett of Dallas, at 73 years young, is still raising the bar.

Isett first grabbed a pole in junior high and loved being a pole vaulter through high school, a talent he kept grounded until his wife gave him a pole for his 66th birthday.

"It's given the old geezers something to do, what they really loved to do when they were young," Isett said.

But taking a 50-year break from jumping didn't come without its challenges.

"When you get older, you're not as strong, you're not as fast, so you have to be smarter," said Isett.

"You don't have all the capabilities of a younger person, so you have to think about it a lot and develop some techniques, but I think most of us would agree it's something we love to do when we were young, and we're grateful for the opportunity to be able to continue."

Although Isett has won numerous awards from three gold medals at the Senior Olympics to seven national championships and even a world championship, he says it's not about the awards.

"It's really exhilarating and fun to jump and to be around people that love the same thing," Isett said.

Those around Isett can't help but notice his determination and outlook on life.

"It was really cool...he just cleared 10 feet, and that was really good for a 73-year-old man, and it's just a blessing," said Josh Ulbricht, a senior at Smithson Valley High School north of San Antonio.

"It shows that you can actually, whatever you put your mind to, you can do."

It looks like Isett will keep reaching for new heights.

"When I can't lift the pole anymore, I'll quit," Isett said.


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