Lacy Janson Pre-Olympic Articles

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rainbowgirl28
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Lacy Janson Pre-Olympic Articles

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:21 pm

http://www.foxsportsflorida.com/07/09/1 ... eedID=3720


Former FSU star Janson taking aim at London

July 9, 2012


Kemar Hyman shows that hard work pays off. READ MORE »
The sport that Lacy Janson loved so much frustrated her to the point that she wanted to quit. So six months before the pole vaulter made the U.S. Olympic team, Janson nearly gave it all up.

She felt like she had done enough in the sport of track and field, and in many respects it was true. At Florida State, Janson won eight Atlantic Coast Conference pole vault titles — claiming every indoor and outdoor title from 2003-06. And she won a pair of NCAA titles.

At 29, she could walk away. She was working part time, training with FSU assistant Dennis Nobles and also planning a December wedding with her fiancé, Warren Harper.

“I was super frustrated,” Janson said. “I had one day when I felt like I forgot how to pole vault. I ran through (without putting the pole down and vaulting) maybe 40 times. I just ran through, ran through, ran through. It spiraled a little bit. I got more frustrated and more frustrated. I had wedding plans on my mind. …

“And I just thought, ‘You know, I can move on from here. I don’t have to pole vault anymore. It’s frustrating. It’s hard. I can be done with it.’ But then I thought, ‘That’s really silly. Why would you quit on an Olympic year? You worked really hard.' ”

Janson’s fiancé and Nobles both saw the frustration. And they encouraged her to take a more positive outlook. She kept practicing, and within a few weeks her attitude and confidence were back.

So when it came time for Janson to travel to the U.S. Olympic Trials, Janson was ready. And she had the confidence of experience. This would be her third attempt to qualify for the Olympics after missing out in 2004 and '08.

And on June 24 in Eugene, Ore., Janson cleared 4.5 meters (14 feet, 9 inches) to take the third and final pole vault spot on the U.S. team.

“I changed things around in the nick of time and I am super thankful,” Janson said. “It just goes to show you the fluctuations you can have as an athlete and as a person. That’s what we all go through.”

Janson was always pursuing some athletic endeavor, and her first love was gymnastics. The Sarasota native was 7 or 8 years old and vividly remembers family members watching her compete. And the aunts and uncles casually ask the question to see what kind of response they will get: Are you going to the Olympics?

And Janson didn’t give it much thought before replying, “Yeah. It’s easy.”

Janson remembers the goosebumps every four years when she watched the Olympics on television. She thought about it as she was a gymnast, and then later when she turned her attention toward volleyball.

With her focus on volleyball, Janson thought about playing the sport in college as a springboard to one day playing on the Olympic level.

“I came to a Florida State volleyball camp, and they whipped the tar out of me,” Janson said. “I was just winded. So I went out for track.”

And about that time, Dan O’Brien won the decathlon in 1996 at the Atlanta Games. Janson, then 13, was watching on television.

“I was babysitting and the kids had gone to sleep,” Janson said. “And I remember very clearly I was watching the decathletes pole vault. And Dan O’Brien was the big star, and that’s what they were highlighting. I clearly remember thinking — I could never do that. I thought the box was the size of a doughnut.

“So you have to run really fast and aim it right into that doughnut hole and then do all the rest.”

The thought was crazy. But the memory of watching O’Brien stuck with her that next school year as she walked down the pole vault lane and checked out the “doughnut.”

Janson tried it out and she was good. She won a state title at Cardinal Mooney High and then claimed the national high school title. In 2001, she took gold at the Junior Pan American Games.

And at FSU, she owns the school pole vault record and collected a trophy case full of titles.

“The whole process seems to have gone really fast, except when you’re in it and it’s been difficult and frustrating,” Janson said. “All of these years and it’s like, ‘Here I am in the most frustrating sport.’

“But then you stick with it, you get this little spark of confidence and then all of a sudden you are jumping really well again and you’ve made the Olympic team.”

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rainbowgirl28
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Re: Lacy Janson Pre-Olympic Articles

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:48 pm

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20 ... /120739959


Family ties help create Olympic hopes


Sarasota Pole Vaulter, Lacy Janson hugs her mom, Laurie Janson, as her good friend Tom Allman helps with her heavy, 15 foot pole bag at the Tampa International Airport Wednesday morning. Janson, 29, was heading to London to participate in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

HERALD-TRIBUNE PHOTO / THOMAS BENDER
By Mic Huber
Published: Monday, July 30, 2012 at 9:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, July 30, 2012 at 9:52 p.m.
SARASOTA - Lacy Janson never doubted that she would have plenty of family support when she spends her time in the spotlight at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Pole vaulting is a family affair in the Janson houseshold, and every member of the immediate family will be in London to watch Lacy take her turn on the runway.

Father. Mother. Sisters and brother. They will all be there in the stands, like they have so many steps of the way to this Olympic dream. They will be there cheering and supporting Janson as the Cardinal Mooney High graduate attempts to medal on the biggest stage possible.

Parents, Charles and Laurie. Siblings, Kristen and Brittany and Charles Jr. They broke the bank on airline tickets and accommodations to have the chance to watch Lacy in the spotlight.

The Janson family, along with Janson's fiancé, Warren Harper, will take the same flight out of JFK in New York on Wednesday and be there to watch the pole vault preliminaries on Saturday.

"I knew they would get over there," Janson said Wednesday as she left for London. "That's just the way they are, it's the support they have always given."

Janson's parents have been there for her throughout her pole vaulting career, which began in 2000 when she took up the sport as a junior at Cardinal Mooney and continued at Florida State.

And Janson has a connection with her sisters and brother that goes beyond the usual family bond. Both her sisters and brother took up pole vaulting. They know what it means to reach the heights their sister has achieved.

"I think they saw how much fun Lacy was having," Laurie Janson said about the family embracing the sport. "It's crazy to me because it is such a scary thing. But they all loved it, so go figure."

All four of the Janson children became state contenders in high school in the sport and all four went on to pole vault at Florida State.

"They kept each other company," Charles Sr. said. "They all overlapped at some point up there."

"We are very close," Lacy Janson says.

So close that Kristin made a 10-hour trip from Lake Tahoe, Nev., to Eugene, Ore., after a full day of work to watch her sister compete in the Olympic Trials last month. She then drove 10 hours after the meet to be back in time to go to work the next day.

John Raleigh, who coached all four of the Janson siblings at Cardinal Mooney, says they all had the same type of competitiveness and love for the sport.

"I think I could have gotten their father to try the sport if I pushed it," Raleigh said.

Laurie Janson would have been a different matter.

"I was not into athletics," Laurie Janson says. "I played the flute in high school. She then quickly adds, "But I did birth an Olympian."

Even the extended family has taken up the cause.

Grandmother Carolyn Janson can turn any conversation, with anyone, to pole vaulting and Janson's exploits. Lacy Janson's maternal grandparents, who reside in Lakeland, never hesitate to show photos to anyone willing to look.

And there may be no more passionate supporter than her uncle Ken Smith. He follows every meet, usually keeping up via a laptop computer wherever he might be at the time. He even went so far as to contact one meet organizer because Lacy Janson's name was misspelled.


This week Smith came up with red, white and blue T-shirts with Lacy's name on them that he designed and gave to the rest of the family.

He also produced buttons with Lacy's photo on them.

"It's pretty incredible," Lacy Janson said about a family gathering on Lido Beach Tuesday night. "Family and friends were wearing T-shirts with my name on them. "Nobody has ever made T-shirts for me before."

But then, nobody in the family has made it to the Olympics before either.

User avatar
rainbowgirl28
I'm in Charge
Posts: 30435
Joined: Sat Aug 31, 2002 1:59 pm
Expertise: Former College Vaulter, I coach and officiate as life allows
Lifetime Best: 11'6"
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Favorite Vaulter: Casey Carrigan
Location: A Temperate Island
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Re: Lacy Janson Pre-Olympic Articles

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:26 pm

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20 ... lete&tc=ar


Fate launches Olympic dream for area athlete


Coach John Raleigh helped get Sarasota Olympian Lacy Janson interested in pole vaulting.

Staff photo / Thomas Bender
By Mic Huber
Published: Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 4:20 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 4:20 p.m.
SARASOTA

A dream is just a dream unless it is nurtured to reality.

Lacy Janson knows that her Olympic-sized dream may have never had a chance to come to fruition had she had not crossed paths with John Raleigh at Cardinal Mooney High School.

Dreams are defining moments, so it is not surprising that not long after Janson realized her personal vision of making the U.S. Olympic pole vault team, her thoughts turned to Raleigh. Janson has not forgotten the coach who believed from the start that she had potential to soar to great heights.

"He deserves so much credit for this," Janson says about the coach who cajoled an accomplished volleyball player into giving the sport of pole vaulting a chance. "He put in so much time with me."

It was Raleigh, who has tirelessly championed the sport throughout the area for more than a decade, convincing Janson to take that first leap of faith in the spring of 2000. It was Raleigh who, less than two months later, first uttered the word "Olympics" to Janson's parents.

"I look back and I can't imagine what Lacy's mother was thinking when I said that," Raleigh said recently.

Today, they know what he was talking about. They can thank Raleigh for his vision — and also for making vaulting a family affair.

Over the years, Raleigh, a certified financial planner who is now 49, has coached each of Charles and Laurie's children. And each one — Kristin, Brittany and Charles Jr. — followed Lacy to compete in the pole vault event at Florida State.


And now, Lacy is living her Olympic dream.

For a sport to take hold there has to be someone willing to pass down wisdom, and Raleigh, a pole vault guru, has been more than willing.

It was not always easy. A state champion vaulter in high school in New Jersey and a letterman at Virginia Tech, Raleigh first tried to offer his expertise shortly after moving to Sarasota in 1992 by contacting every high school in the area. He got zero response.

Years later, Raleigh's parents moved to the Venice area and his sister, Beth, who is 20 years younger, played basketball at Cardinal Mooney. It was while attending one of his sister's games that Raleigh had a chance encounter with Mooney athletic director Bill Donivan, who at one time had been a track coach at the school.

During Donivan's stint as track coach, Mooney had a state champion pole vaulter — Keith Kreger in 1983 and 1984. Donivan was eager to see the school revive its vaulting program and Raleigh was just as eager to get the job done.

The two formed a steadfast friendship, and Mooney had itself a pole vault coach. "What John Raleigh brought to us was amazing," Donivan says.

What he brought initially were three poles, and a passion for the sport. What Donivan provided was an opportunity, along with support and, eventually, a pole vault pit.

What followed was not only a strong high school pole vault program but also a place for vaulters of all ages and sizes to learn the sport. Once Raleigh got established, Cardinal Mooney became a gathering place for vaulters throughout the area.


Word spread quickly.

"John welcomed anybody, athletes or coaches," Donivan said. "It was not uncommon to see 30 poles leaning up against the fence near the football field and dozens of jumpers taking part in his Sky's The Limit camp.

Raleigh came by coaching through the effort he put in to become a vaulter. Admittedly not particularly gifted athletically, Raleigh learned all he could in a technical-driven sport.

"I was one of those athletes who worked for what he got," Raleigh says. "I had to learn and become very knowledgeable."

He had an opportunity to work with a coach, Paul Richards, who had several high school-age students vaulting 16 and 17 feet. Raleigh would travel 45 minutes twice a week to Rutgers University and was allowed to hang around. And if there was time at the end of practice, Raleigh was allowed on the runway and the coach would work with him.

Raleigh has spent years repaying the kindness by coaching young athletes.

In remarkably good timing, Janson happened to walk past the pole vault pit the first year Raleigh arrived at Mooney. Janson and her friends had been making fun of the pole vaulters because of the odd-looking drills they were doing with the poles.

"We didn't want to be a part of that because we thought we were too cool," Janson said.

Raleigh spotted potential just by the way Janson moved, convinced her to give the sport a try and taught her what cool can be all about.

"It was just one of those magical things that happen in life, where you are in the right place at the right time," Raleigh said about the way things worked out. "If Bill Donivan and I didn't hit it off, if Lacy had not walked by ... so many things happened to put me in that position."

And now, with the start provided by Raleigh, Lacy Janson is living out her dream.


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