Belton: Olympic hopefuls compete in pole vaulting competition

Photo by Alex Gibbs
Photo by Alex Gibbs(KWTX)
Published: Jan. 4, 2020 at 9:08 PM CST
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Hundreds of athletes of all ages gathered at the Bell County Expo Center to compete in the second largest indoor pole vaulting competition in the country on Saturday.

But this wasn't your normal competition. Some of the athletes, like former Baylor Bear Annie Rhodes Johnigan, are training to potentially qualify for a spot in the 2020 Olympics.

"I feel like I'm on the bubble," she said.

"I'm excited to see what happens from now until June."

Many Olympians from years past, including Anicka Newell, gave some helpful advice on making it to the top.

"No matter what your dream is, keep chasing it," she said.

She wasn't just giving advice to the Olympic hopefuls, either. The event also had athletes as young as 13 competing.

Brett Shadrick and his brother Brady have competed ever since middle school.

"I love how they make you feel that you're just like them," he said.

Passing the torch from one generation to the next, from Olympians to hopefuls to first timers, it's safe to say that pole vaulting isn't going anywhere.

"We're all kind of fearless," Rhodes said.

"We're this quirky group of people that just really love going upside down and being flung really high in the air so it's a rush."