Im sitting in the Tokyo Narita airport waiting for my flight to Detroit, Ive had a great time here, being a part of the World Championships and having the privilege to wear USA across my chest is something I will never forget. My performance here at the meet was like a lot of this outdoor season has been, dissapointing.
Now dont get me wrong I had a great time, the hard part is knowing how much work Ive put in this year and knowing that I am capable of much more. The tough thing about the vault is sometimes you dont get to leave it all out on the track, you get three jumps to make a height and it doesnt matter if you try your hardest and give it 110 percent sometimes that bar just doesnt stay up and your day is over. Those are the toughest days to deal with as a vaulter, the day that you wish you could change the most is the day when everything feels right, the weather is great, your fresh and jumping well and for some reason you just cant capitalize.
On Saturday at prelims I felt the best I have in a long time, I was finishing jumps in warmups and even made an 18ft bar, most of the summer I barely even left the ground in warmups! I felt confident in my run and was excited for the competition. I passed the opening height and came in at 5.35m/17'6" I came down and made the bar with ease! If youve ever vaulted you know that once you make that first bar you have total relief, the pressure is off and you can get to work, and thats the way i felt after this make. We went through the height very quickly with only a handful of misses from all the guys. The bar went up to 5.50m/18' I came down, and was definitely under on my takeoff, which lead to me not putting all the energy from the run into the pole and I came down on the bar. My 2nd and 3rd jumps were all very similar to the first I had tons of height in the air but not enough depth into the pit. Just like that my day was over, frustrating, not because I thought I was going to win the meet but because I had an amazing opportunity and just wasn't able to compete to my ability.
Now that that is out of the way, I had an awesome time in Daegu, I got to mingle with the best athletes in the world! I had a beer with Trey Hardee, 2 time World Champ in the Decathlon. It really was inspiring to be among so many great athletes and to see the level of competition and performance was amazing. I got to hang out with my German friends, Malte Mohr, Tim Lobinger, Rafael Holdzeppe, and Karsten Dilla, Korean Yoo Suk Kim, and my good buddy Mexican vaulter Giovanni Lanaro, just to name a few.
I had some time after I competed to really look back at this year, analyze, critique and get a plan of what I need to do to not just make the finals, but to win the gold medal next year. I can tell you that I am very excited about the future, about training and vaulting better than I ever have in my life. Gotta get on the plane now, cant wait to get home and see my beautiful wife.
Always Pursuing -Mark-