Sandi Morris had a super year in 2017. In all likelihood, the bible of the sport should see her as numero two in the pole vault. Sandi has been on this silver medal thing since World Indoors 2016. In this piece by Stuart Weir, he writes about Sandi Morris and her wonderful season.
That Sandi Morris would finish second in the Diamond League pole vault final, behind Katerina Stefanidi (Greece) was quite predictable. It happened at the Rio Olympics and it happened at the 2017 World Championships and it happened again in Brussels.
She commented after the most recent competition: “I actually felt great tonight, but in fact I just needed bigger poles. ItÂ´s a bitter sweet way to end the season this way, but I take the positive feeling with me for next year. Of course I thought about the competition from last year here … I love competing here and I always jump well here. ThereÂ´s something magical about this place and I love it.”
The reference to last year was to a 5 meter jump which was a World Lead, Meeting record, PR and National record, enabling her to beat Stefanidi, but ironically not to win the Diamond League title which was decided last year on cumulative points over the season.
Morris, both whose parents were athletes, started track and field at about 6 or 7. She tried several disciplines before much settling on the 100H. She takes up the story: “The pole vault coach saw me running hurdles and thought I would make a good pole-vaulter because I was tall, lanky and fast. He went up to my dad and said, ‘Your daughter looks as if she would be a good pole vaulter'”. The rest, as they say is history.
She prides herself on her physical fitness, pointing out that she has had a PR with her16th jump in a competition. “For some reason I was making everything on third attempt but I just kept on fighting and suddenly I hit two PBs in a row. I am pretty proud of that, that I PRed on a 15th and 16th jump of my competition”. One of the exercises they use to build up strength and stamina is running with the pole.
“Coach tries to incorporate a pole into as much as possible”, she explains, “so we will do full-blown running work-outs carrying a pole – not round the track but running straight – and it makes it so much more difficult doing the running with the pole. So for me doing 10 X 100 without a pole it is not a big deal but if you put a pole in your hands you cannot pump your arms and that makes it that much harder to run the 100m. By the end of those 10 X 100m we are barely able to run and are keeling over and falling on the track”.
Fourth place, in the 2015 World Championships, gave her confidence that she could compete with the best. In the 2016 World Indoors, the 2016 Olympics and the 2017 World Championships, she moved into the medals, collecting silver each time.
Finally I thought you should know that Sandi is passionate about animals. She has a dog a bird and 3 snakes which help her “find that escape from the life of an athlete”. Three snakes may seem too many for most people but for Sandi, it is 25 too few: “I just have three at one time in my life I had 28. My lifestyle as a travelling athlete makes it very hard to have 28. I had to cut in down to three. I have two red tail boas and a bald python”.