Kendricks earns bronze medal at Rio Olympics


Kendricks holds the USA flag in celebration of his bronze medal win, as seen on NBC live broadcast from Rio.

Jared Redding, Sports Editor

Oxford High School students and alumni can now say that they went to the same high school as an Olympic medalist.

Oxford native Sam Kendricks represented his hometown well by earning the bronze medal in the Olympic men’s pole vault finals last Monday with a height of 5.85 meters (19 feet 2 1/4 inches).  Kendricks was the first American to medal in pole vault since 2004.  Just in front of Kendricks was defending gold medalist Renaud Lavillenie of France who earned a silver medal by clearing the height of 5.98 meters (19 feet 7 1/2 inches).  Finishing first and earning the gold medal was Thiago Braz da Silva of Brazil with a new Olympic record height of 6.03 meters (19 feet 9 1/2 inches).

A heavy rainfall in Rio delayed the pole vault finals for quite some time, however, that did not dampen Kendrick’s hopes of a fantastic performance.

Kendricks started out strong by effortlessly clearing 5.50 meters (18 feet 1/2 inch).  Another delay ensued after Kendricks’ first jump as the event officials had issues with the bar that they were using.  After failing to clear 5.65 meters (18 feet 6 1/2 inches) the first time, Kendricks rebounded and cleared that same height on his second attempt.  Five vaulters were unable to pass the 5.65 meter mark, which meant that Kendricks was left with five vaulters to compete against.  Kendricks passed 5.75 meters (18 feet 10 1/4) on his next height.  It only took one attempt for Kendricks to clear 5.85 meters.  Kendricks failed to clear 5.93 meters (19 feet 5 1/2 inches) twice. However, because Piotr Lisek of Poland failed to clear 5.93 meters, Kendricks was guaranteed to medal in his first appearance in the Olympic games.  Kendricks failed to clear 5.93 meters for the third time, nonetheless, he earned himself, his community, his state, and his country a bronze medal.