altius wrote:"we need these kids to vault for 4 more years to reach potential." Absolutely - Plus the opportunity to experience international competition! But clearly this is not possible in the US unless they have wealthy relatives, or are prepared to make enormous sacrifices over several years to achieve a goal - with no guarantees that they will get there!
I agree completely! I do have something to add...
I have not seen a mention of the mental toll that comes with post-collegiate vaulting. There a several exceptions across the board, but in general, vaulters are a very educated and dedicated bunch. Brian can attest that during our college (and post-collegiate days), we were diligent about diet, sleep, recovery, etc. Its not easy to for a college kid to decide that during the college years of his life, he is going to give up beer, fatty food, late nights, relationships and alot of "college" experiences to dedicate himself/herself to the vault.
When the eligibility is up, the vaulter has a choice: Continue on the same diligent path in training and life only to vault facing even more struggle (travel, cost, equipment, etc) with the mentioned NO GUARANTEES; OR get a job in your field, eat, drink, relax, and vacation all you want... and make some money.
Additionally, that choice and struggle become MUCH harder and the gap in the two lifesyles opens WAY up when you have a bad month or bad year of vaulting after graduation. The grass looks alot greener on the other side during or following of a bad year.
I was never an "elite" vaulter. I tried to play the role for two years, and we at VT trained hard and trained smart. In the end, struggling as a sub-elite scrapper was too much when faced with the choice of entering the engineering field with a MS degree or continuing on struggling. I have now turned to helping out with some coaching.
I can imagine the difficulty that vaulters with higher PR's face in the same circumstances to be that much closer...