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Army reservist Sam Kendricks wins pole vault gold at worlds

By: AP August 09,2017 - 10:24 PM

LONDON — Sam Kendricks will soon step on the podium as a gold medalist and hear the only song he knows by heart — “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“The anthem is something near and dear,” said the Army reservist and pole vault world champion. “I don’t know how I’m going to react.”

Things are definitely looking up for him these days. In March, Kendricks was promoted to first lieutenant.

On Tuesday, he went from bronze at the Olympics to gold at the world championships.

Kendricks edged Piotr Lisek of Poland and 2012 London Games champion Renaud Lavillenie of France by being remarkably consistent. Kendricks doesn’t use as long of a pole, which means he must use military precision to eke the most out of his game.

“I was the best jumper I can be on a shorter pole than everyone else. Tonight, it handed me my victory,” said Kendricks, who cleared 5.95 meters to earn the win.

Asked why he uses such a shorter pole, he shrugged: “Takes me less time to get to the bar — less time to make errors.”

A funny thing happened on his victory lap — he went too fast and got a stitch in his side. He had nothing left to prove. But clearly, he prides himself in giving maximum effort at any time he’s out there.

This, after all, is fun and games. Kendricks’ stay in London will reach its high point Wednesday, when he receives the gold medal and the Stars and Stripes are raised in the stadium. A stark contrast from home, where his unit has been loading ships in South Carolina.

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TAGS: army, gold, pole, Sam, wins, world’s

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