U.S. pole vaulter Sam Kendricks brought honor to his team by breaking a 12-year losing streak by medaling in the event at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
But the bronze medal winner, who’s also a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves, showed even greater honor to his country during a practice run.
He stopped midstride, lowered his pole and stood at attention. Why? Because he heard the strains of “The Star Spangled Banner” playing in the distance.
As for his win, SB Nation reported:
Coming into this Olympiad, Kendricks had notched the second-highest vault of 2016 at 19’5-1⁄4 and then bested Tim Mack’s U.S. Olympic qualifying meet record back on July 4th with a vault of 19’4-3⁄4.
Kendricks made headlines earlier this summer after qualifying for the Rio Games and electing to prepare for the competition in Oxford rather than train at the USA Track & Field facilities in Houston, Texas. “You go to all these places in the world and you get tastes of Stade Louis in Monaco, which is one of the nicest outdoor track facilities in the world, or you go to Ireland and they have a beautiful indoor facility for track and field or you go to Germany and they have all these clubs,” said Kendricks, who won two national championships while at Ole Miss from 2012 to 2014.
The 23-year-old medalists was a University of Mississippi ROTC cadet and is currently attached to the 655th Transportation Company in Millington, Tennessee.
“Those guys (in his unit) are really proud of me and have given me every chance to continue as a civilian,” Kendricks said. “I am certainly looking to represent the Americans on two fronts — as a military man and as a U.S. athlete.”
And he did a great job as an athlete — both in competition and during practice.
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