TORONTO – Considering she approached it as little more than a training exercise for the upcoming World Championships, a bronze medal is not a bad accomplishment for Fredonia native Jenn Suhr, the reigning Olympic champion in the pole vault.
“I’m purely thinking Worlds right now,” said Suhr, who vaulted 15 feet, 1 inch (4.60 meters), trailing Cuba’s Yarisley Silva, at 15-11 (4.85 meters), and Brazilian Fabiana Murer, who cleared 15-9 (4.80 meters). “I think if I was really going to focus and do it, I would have tapered a little bit, but you really peak for U.S. Nationals to make the team and you have to continue training and really peak again for Worlds, so that’s what I’m doing.”
The 33-year-old, who won Nationals last month, explained that unlike most other major competitions, she didn’t adjust her training schedule at all for this event.
“I wouldn’t have done this if it was not so close to my home. It’s funny, we were staying home, we only live about two hours away, and we train through this, so I was working out yesterday getting ready. I really do have World Championships on my mind,” said the four-time USA outdoor champion.
As for improving her performance at next month’s World Championships in Beijing, where she is the defending silver medalist, she said she’s optimistic because she’s “finally healthy” after being sidelined in late winter and early spring with a bruised heel and Achilles tendonitis. And that came not long after she had a bad fall when a pole broke last summer to put her out of action.
“Now I’ve got a lot more speed on the runway that I’m not used to so it’s really kind of harnessing that and using it to my advantage,” she said about her training focus leading up to Worlds, noting that it will not be easy to get on the podium there.
“Worlds is definitely going to be a hard place with heights,” she said. “You saw what happened here and you have a lot of very good vaulters out there in Europe that are going to be at Worlds so I think you can see some really high bars there.”
Johnson takes silver
Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga earned a silver medal in the women’s doubles bowling competition in Toronto. She and Shannon Pluhowski of Dayton, Ohio, finished second to a team from Colombia.
Clara Guerrero and Rocio Restepo of Colombia finished with a total of 5,074 for the 12-game series. That was well ahead of the Americans’ 4,925 total.
“They’re great bowlers and they just bowled phenomenal today,” said Johnson, who did have a 299 game. “We started out well. ... I got caught up staying a little further right than I wanted to and second guessing myself. Once we moved in, it was a better reaction but we had a lot of holes today.”
Johnson will compete in the singles competition, which starts qualifying Friday, and then the field will be cut to eight for Saturday’s match play.