Brad Walker Pre-Olympic Articles

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Brad Walker Pre-Olympic Articles

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:56 am

http://www.sundaymercury.net/midlands-s ... -31444669/


American pole vault king Brad Walker knows the only way is up at London 2012
Jul 22 2012 by Brian Dick, Sunday Mercury

MEDAL prospect Brad Walker goes to London 2012 knowing his latest crack at Olympic glory can’t fail to be better than his last.

The pole vaulter, who is part of the US team staying in Birmingham for London 2012, is one of the favourites for gold.

Just before he left for the UK the experienced American posted his highest jump for four years.

And he insists he has learned to deal with the pressure that saw him bomb out in Beijing where not only did he miss out on the final – he didn’t even register a height.

Walker described the qualifying competition as ‘‘a crazy situation’’ after it lasted four hours and took place after midnight in an empty stadium.

Even worse Walker was made to wait for more than two hours between his practice and competitive jumps.

And he then had another 45-minute delay after the pole vault stand broke.

“Beijing was devastating,” the 31-year-old former world champion admitted.

“I went in there with the highest jump of the year and left without any hardware.

“I had won a medal and have continued to win a medal at every World Championship I have been to.

“I love the way I compete under pressure and love the way I go into battle with the best vaulters in the world on a specific day, so to leave without a medal was a huge disappointment.

“But I think I learned valuable lessons in Beijing to carry forward.

“I have had a lot of personal growth over the last four years.

“As a more experienced athlete and understanding my body better I will do a better job this time round and I am going to be ready for anything.

“If I am waiting there four hours to take my first round jump so be it, I will be ready.

“I am not going in there thinking ‘I have to redeem myself’ but I have learned what I had to.

“I love my chances this time around and I am going to be in there being as calm and collected as I can.”

Only three men have gone higher than Walker this year and he picked up a bronze at the World Indoors in March.

That shows Walker, who has been the best in the USA since 2005, is back in the form that made him world champion in 2007.

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Re: Brad Walker Pre-Olympic Articles

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:00 am

http://www.khq.com/story/19151995/tom-w ... ympian-son


Brad Walker's Dad Talks About His Son's Quest For The Gold

Posted: Jul 30, 2012 7:31 PM PDT
Updated: Jul 30, 2012 7:39 PM PDT
by Katie Steiner, KHQ Reporter - bio | email

SPOKANE, Wash. – Tom Walker is a deputy for the Spokane County Sheriff's Department. As a diver for the University of Illinois, Tom always had one dream, to go to the Olympics. He never made it as a diver. He will be going to London, as a proud dad. His son, Brad Walker, will be competing in his second Olympic games, and Tom could not be prouder. "A friend of mine from high school said, he's living your dream. And I said, yes, he is. And I get to live it with him. It's fun, it really is. The whole thing is about him, the hard work that he has done, his dedication," Tom said.

It all started in Spokane. Like his dad, Brad was quite the athlete. "Growing up, we didn't think he would do anything but football. He lived and breathed football. Seventh grade, I guess, they came over to Horizon Junior High and asked people if anyone wanted to pole vault and try Track and Field, and Brad was like, yah, might as well, sounded like fun. And the rest is, as you say, history," Tom remembers.

Brad took his pole-vaulting from University High School in the Spokane Valley to the University of Washington on a partial scholarship. A couple years later, Brad got a full ride to UW. It was then that Brad knew he did not want to put the pole down. Tom said, "I asked him what are you going to do for a living once you graduate from college? And he said, 'Dad, I want to pole vault.' And I said ok. Little did I know."

Brad went on to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Games. There, he was expected to win a medal. However, it didn't pan out that way. He didn't even make it past the first round. Tom was there for all of it. "We met him outside the stadium after the meet and grabbed him in our arms and everyone was crying and saying…what do you say? It's the Olympics and you are favored to win a gold medal. And you no-high in the prelims. How do you handle that? What can you say to the athlete?"

Tom found out a couple months later why he wasn't vaulting up to his usual heights. Brad had been pole-vaulting in an incredible amount of pain. Doctors found out he had ruptured one lower vertebra and 2 two others that were bulged. Brad had back surgery. But he would not let that stop him. He used the disappointment in Beijing to motivate him, becoming a better athlete than he ever was before. And his old man is so proud of him. "How many parents can say their kids have gone to the Olympics two times, and have bounced back from an injuries mentally could destroy an athlete, but did not let it. He's got all the tools, and he is making them work," Tom said.

Today, Brad is back in London, getting ready for his big vault. This time is different. "I have never seen him so positive, I have never seen him as excited as he is right now. I think that's going to make the whole thing," Tom shared.

Brad is approaching these Olympics differently. 2008, it was all business for Brad. Nothing but jumping. He didn't even go to the Opening Ceremonies because he did not want to wear his legs out. This year, he went to the Opening Ceremonies and had a blast. Tom said this better for him. " He is doing what an Olympian needs to do. How many Olympics do you participate in? Live in the moment, and that's what he is doing this time."

And Tom says, this is Brad's time. "My gut feeling is he is going to win. My gut is he is going to set and Olympic record, and come close to the world record. What better place to do it on then the largest stage in the world."

And Tom will be there, to watch every moment. "Brad's bounced back, better than ever…This is London. Whole new Brad," Tom said.

Tom said that it's really important for Spokane to support all of its local athletes. If you would like to cheer Brad on, he is very active on social media. Send him a tweet! Brad's twitter handle is @SkyWalkerPV. Leave him a note on his Facebook page…Brad Walker. Brad's qualifying round is on Wednesday August 8th, and his finals two days later on Friday August 10th.

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Re: Brad Walker Pre-Olympic Articles

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:04 am

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/201 ... -make-ame/


Olympics 2012: Brad Walker looks to make amends for ’08 failure

By Carla Peay-The Washington Times Monday, August 6, 2012


Relaxed and confident, Brad Walker accepted the congratulations of his fellow athletes after winning the pole vault in the U.S. Olympic trials. Walker was going to London for his second try at a medal.

He hopes this trip will be nothing like Beijing.

For this trip to the Olympics, Walker decided to adopt a new philosophy, a slightly unusual one for an athlete who excels at one of track and field’s most technical events: try and be just a little bit less perfect.

“I made the Beijing team, I had the highest jump in the world that year, and I walked home empty handed,” Walker said about the 2008 Summer Olympics. Favored to win a medal, Walker failed to clear even a qualifying height and never made it to the final.

“I had been to five world championships and have five medals,” he said. “The Olympics was the first major meet that I didn’t take a medal home, and I’m obviously really disappointed about it.”

Four years later, that disappointment still haunts Walker. But it also has fueled his determination.

“One of the things I learned from that experience is I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my preparation and training,” Walker said. “I tried to prep everything perfectly going into Beijing.”

It didn’t take long for Walker to realize there were some things he simply couldn’t plan for.

Olympic preparation

Walker placed third at the Olympic trials in 2008 with a qualifying jump of 18-4 after setting the American record (19-93/4) one month earlier at the Prefontaine Classic.

Focused on staying in control, Walker went to Beijing prepared for everything except the unexpected.

“One of the things I learned is that the Olympics are everything but perfect or perfectly run,” Walker said.

On the first night of competition, weather caused delays Walker hadn’t counted on. After that, it didn’t take long for the resulting disorganization to disrupt Walker’s carefully planned routine.

“We had a qualifying round at 8 p.m., and I took my last jump past midnight,” Walker recalled. “You don’t train for something like that.”

The delays spelled disaster for Walker, who left Beijing stunned. Eventually, disappointment, then anger, set in.

Building his career

A South Dakota native raised in Spokane, Wash., Walker was a football player and track athlete in high school. He attended the University of Washington, where he became a two-time NCAA indoor champion and a two-time conference champion.

Walker won silver at his first World Championship meet in 2005, followed by gold in 2006. He also earned medals in 2007, 2008 and 2012.

At this year’s Olympic trials, Walker had the opportunity to put his philosophy in practice, when chilly rain in Eugene presented a huge obstacle.

During the qualifying rounds, jumpers waited inside a tent, hoping for the rain to subside.

“A headwind one trip and a crosswind the next, and you can’t really build from jump to jump,” Walker said. “That’s exactly what is scary in an Olympic trials system where it’s the top three in one meet.”

Seeking redemption

Walker has said he will be seeking to atone for his missteps in 2008.

“I definitely wasn’t happy after Beijing. This time, it’s going to be different,” Walker said. “Basically, I’m not disappointed with the way I performed, but I got angry during the meet, and you can’t have those kind of emotions trying to do something really technical.

“I can put it behind me now, I think in a very healthy way, but also use it as motivation. That’s not something that I guess I want to forget. But it is motivating, and I do know what to expect — the unexpected.”

This time, regardless of the outcome, Walker pledges he will keep his anger, and any other volatile emotions that surface, out of the way.

The qualifying jumps in the pole vault will be held Wednesday. The final is Friday.

“This time,” Walker said, “I’m just going to go with it. I’m just going to roll with it, and I feel like I’m going to come back with some hardware.”

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Re: Brad Walker Pre-Olympic Articles

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:04 am

http://www.khq.com/story/19211517/brad- ... le-vaulter


Brad Walker's Pole Vaulting Coach: You're Too Smart To Be A Pole Vaulter'


Posted: Aug 07, 2012 12:53 AM PDT
Updated: Aug 07, 2012 1:05 AM PDT
by Chelsea Kopta, KHQ News Reporter - bio | email



SPOKANE, Wash. - It's considered one of track and field's toughest sports: pole-vaulting. And in that world, Brad Walker is a force to be reckoned with. He's the American record-holder, a two-time world champion, and this year, a contender for Olympic gold in London.
But there's one place Walker's expertise failed to claim a record: his hometown field, University High.

"He was tall, lanky and dorky and he never looked like he was ever going to be a pole vaulter," University High Pole Vaulting coach Reg Hulbert said with a laugh.

The year was 1994, Walker volunteered for pole vault in the seventh grade at Horizon Junior High and that's where Hulbert first noticed Walker. From there, Walker and a friend, Jeff Wineinger, would come over and practice at the pole vaulting pit in Hulbert's backyard.

By 1995, Walker was training under Hulbert's tutelage in U-Hi Track and Field program. That's where Walker's Olympic dreams truly began, even if his coach didn't believe it back then
"He was too smart to be a pole vaulter. We like our pole vaulters to be kind of stupid cause they have to be crazy, you know?" Hulbert said between laughs.

Indeed, pole vaulting requires a certain breed: heart-pounding, pole-bending, gravity-defying risk-takers.

But Hulbert said Walker "Was like 4.0 student and I told him numerous times 'Brad, you need to go be a distance runner. You're too smart to be a pole vaulter."

But Walker was not short on courage or confidence. He spent years training with Hulbert. Jump after jump after jump.

"He was a slow picker-upper," Hulbert continued. "He started out at 10-6, which is good for a freshman. Then he finally got to 14-0."

Hulbert said Walker struggled to clear a better height until his senior year.

"Then one day, I finally broke into his head and I convinced him 'You've got to take your eye off the crossbar and let yourself go up.' And he did," Hulbert said.

As a prep star he led University High to consecutive state track and field championships in 1998 and 1999. He was 1999 regional and district pole vault champion and finished second at the state meet. He also lettered in football.

Still, he never held U-Hi's best record. That title belongs to U-Hi's Tyson Byers who went on to pole vault at WSU and is now a business professional on the west side of the state.

But that was then.

Walker's day at the top would soon come. Hulbert believes Walker came into his own as a pole vaulter during his time at the University of Washington.

"Brad did not like to lose, I'll you that," Hulbert said.


In 2008, at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, OR, Walker became the American record-holder when he cleared 19-9 3/4.

Impressive, to say the least.

That jump earned him a ticket to the Beijing Olympics in 2008. But his dreams were dashed when he didn't qualify. Now, in London, Walker's vowed to come home with the gold.
"He is very, very ready to go, and he's very focused, and only wants one color of medal," Hulbert said. "There's no doubt in my mind or his mind that that's what he's going to come home with."

It's no high school record but an Olympic medal is in a class of its own and if Walker brings one home, it will be the first in U-Hi's history.

Now that's a record that, his coach is proud to say, will go down in U-Hi's history books.

"It's very, very rewarding," he continued. "You can't believe how exciting it is. It's better than competing myself. That's how exciting it is to have an athlete that does well."
Hulbert said he is heading to London to cheer Walker on at the Olympics.

The Men's Pole Vault Qualifying rounds begin Wednesday, August 8 and the Finals begin Friday, August 10.

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Re: Brad Walker Pre-Olympic Articles

Unread postby fishman4god » Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:24 pm

Go Brad! Go USA. I would love to see him win it all.....but then again any of our guys medaling would be sweet..........Gold even sweeter! Too smart to be a pole vaulter.........................I think he meant to say "too smart NOT to be a pole vaulter" :D


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