paulmerca.blogspot.com is posting a note written by University of Washington grad, two time Olympian, former world indoor & outdoor champion, and American record holder Brad Walker (above/photo by Paul Merca) on his Facebook page talking about the next chapter of his vaulting career.
Upon reflection of the last four years, which included battling injuries that caused him to miss the 2009 world championships in Berlin, along with no-heighting in the Olympic pole vault finals in London in August, he's come to the conclusion that this country "needs a high performance center where we can take a more professional approach to jumping high."
Here's what Brad wrote:
The beginning of the next chapter. As I reflect back over the last four years of my career, there hasn't been too many ups. It seems like forever ago that I jumped over 6.04 to set the AR in 2008. I have been met by injuries along the way, a surgery, food issues, and many other challenges that I feel have slowed my progress, but has given me tremendous insight into myself.
As I sit here writing this, I am injury free, and have my food issues all but solved. So what's been missing. Its the same thing that is missing for almost all of the vaulters at the top level right now in the US. An "Environment". As I look around at our countries best, I see a bunch of individuals floating around without a consistent coach, without access to therapy, and some without free reign to train when and how they see fit. Many coaches leave training up to the athletes without guidance as to how to prepare for meets or jump sessions and wonder why the athletes can't seem to stay healthy.
The level of professionalism throughout the world has changed in the pole vault and I feel as though we are hoping that since we have always been a power here in the US, we will find our way again in the future. I believe our future success lies in the ability to create an environment that lends itself to success much like we have seen with the reimurgence of American distance running.
With that being said, my next project is to create that environment. I truly believe that my success and the future success for the US pole vault lies in creating a high performance center where we can take a more professional approach to jumping high. Its going to be a big project and will affect my training and prep for 2013, but I can't grind out another year and expect results. Its no coincidence my best years of vaulting came while I was having the most fun and trained with a great group of dedicated athletes.
I will keep you all updated in the progress, and hope that I can rely on your support throughout the pole vault community as I realize I can't do this alone. Thanks for all the support and lets get the US vault scene back where it belongs.
Your American record holder,