DAVE VOLZ GIVES BACK to the PV COMMUNITY

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DAVE VOLZ GIVES BACK to the PV COMMUNITY

Unread postby Bruce Caldwell » Tue Sep 09, 2008 9:18 am

http://www.idsnews.com/news/story.aspx?id=62554&comview=1
A legend in his time, an inspiration in ours
1992 Olympian comes back to IU to mentor, coach next generation
Jeremy Rosenthal | | Date: 9/9/2008
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Former IU pole vaulter Dave Volz performs a vault during his freshman year in this file photo from the 1980-1981 edition of the Arbutus yearbook. Volz established several records at various levels across his illustrious career, including a fifth-place finish at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. He is now a volunteer coach for the IU track and field teams.<br /> • Arbutus
Former IU pole vaulter Dave Volz performs a vault during his freshman year in this file photo from the 1980-1981 edition of the Arbutus yearbook. Volz established several records at various levels across his illustrious career, including a fifth-place finish at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. He is now a volunteer coach for the IU track and field teams.
• Arbutus
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During a pole vault career that spanned from his collegiate days at IU in the 1980s through the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Dave Volz used a technique so effective it is now banned in track and field. The move, now known as “Volzing,” allowed the vaulter to push the bar with their hand, preventing it from falling as the athlete sailed over it.

Sixteen years ago, Volz placed fifth in the pole vault in the Olympics. Now, he’s back at IU, volunteering his time to coach pole vaulters on the IU men’s and women’s track and field teams.

Chasing the dream
Volz, who was a five-time All-American at IU from 1981-1984, set two American records while at IU and was called the “Best Vaulter in the World” by “Track and Field News” in 1982.

But his career has not been without hardship. After winning the NCAA championship in 1981, his freshman year at IU, disaster struck.

While in Europe warming up for a competition, he fell over out-of-place warm-up equipment and severed many nerves in his left ankle.

Still battling to get back to his previous form, Volz was seriously hurt again in 1986 when he broke his right leg and right ankle.

Still, he persevered, fighting for his dream of competing on the ultimate stage — the Olympics.

“It was tough from the standpoint that I felt like I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to,” he said.

Volz said when he finally got back to full strength in about 1990, he spent two years training hard, which paid off at the Olympic Trials. He qualified for the U.S. team and vaulted 18-6.5 feet in the Olympics, good enough to earn him fifth place on the world’s biggest stage.

With a family to look after, he had to make sacrifices, but Volz said he was grateful to have the opportunity to live out his dream after what he called a long road back.

“I don’t know that I could have scripted it any better,” he said. “It was everything I would have hoped it would be.”

Life after the Olympics
For the past few years, Volz has volunteered a lot of his time to his alma mater.

Senior Jeff Coover, an All-American last season, said he has learned from Volz’s mental toughness, which has helped him when he gets in difficult situations.

“He is definitely a role model for me as far as my attitude,” he said, a tribute to Volz’s hard work after injury setbacks.

Junior Vera Neuenswander, who has worked with Volz since she set foot on campus, said she has enjoyed getting to know him and learning from one of the sport’s best.

“He is the go-to guy,” she said. “He knows a lot about the event and cares about his athletes.”

Volz, who grew up in Bloomington, started vaulting in seventh grade and hasn’t looked back since.

Two of his three sons, Drake and Drew, took after their father and pole vaulted at Bloomington High School South. Drake is now a member of IU’s track and field team.

Although Volz says he did not pressure his children to follow in his footsteps, he enjoys helping them out.

“It’s a nice experience to share with them,” he said.

Volz now works with assistant coach Jake Wiseman, who he coached while Wiseman, a 2005 graduate, was at IU.

Wiseman said he enjoys working with someone who knows as much as Volz does.

“I’m always excited to have him around with his knowledge of pole vault,” Wiseman said.

Wiseman proposed a simple comparison to highlight how important Volz’s contributions are to the team, involving IU sprint coach Jeff Huntoon and distance and head coach Ron Helmer.

“It would be like coach Huntoon having Michael Johnson, or coach Helmer having Steve Prefontaine to help them,” he said.

In addition to helping out the IU vaulters, he is also the vice president of manufacturing for Cook Incorporated in Bloomington.

To almost every person he has come in contact with, Volz is considered a great all-around person and volunteers his time without pay to give back to a program that means so much to him.

In the future Volz said he would like to continue to help at IU, which Wiseman will gladly appreciate.

“For him to spend his time here is great,” Wiseman said. “It says a lot about his character and the person he is.”

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Re: DAVE VOLZ GIVES BACK to the PV COMMUNITY

Unread postby KirkB » Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:56 pm

I'm fascinated by the VOLZing technique, which I hadn't heard of until this year.

For all his great performances, what % of them did he actually put the bar back up on?

Was it on every one, just occassionally, or was it on any particular big wins? Like the 5th place Olympics 18-5 jump?

I heard that Tim McMichael and Joe Dial also did this quite successfully. Same question for them.
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Re: DAVE VOLZ GIVES BACK to the PV COMMUNITY

Unread postby vtcoach » Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:49 pm

A lot of vaulters got good at it back then. In fact, it was how good they got at it that eventually led to it being banned. I have seen vaulters clear bars their hips weren't within 20 cm of having the height for. If you watch film from the 80s you will see alot of it. It was a good day for vaulting when they banned it. In Dave's case he did not do it all of the time, if fact, although it was named for him I rarely saw him do it. I witnessed one of his American records and he never touched the bar.

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Re: DAVE VOLZ GIVES BACK to the PV COMMUNITY

Unread postby AVC Coach » Sat Sep 13, 2008 7:42 pm

We always called it "Vigging" after Vigneron of France. He was, in my opinion, the master of it! I was fortunate enough to compete in an indoor meet with Volz in 1992 at SIU. It was his "comeback" meet and he won it with 5.70m, then took some shots at the American Indoor Record. I believe he jumped for the Indiana Invaders????


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