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article imageJeff Hartwig talks pole vault, proudest accomplishments, success Special

By Markos Papadatos     Sep 4, 2017 in Sports
American pole vaulter Jeff Hartwig chatted with Digital Journal about his proudest moments in the sport. He gave advice for aspiring athletes and discussed how technology has changed contemporary track and field.
Hartwig's personal best in outdoor track and field is 6.03 meters in pole vault (which he set in June of 2000), as well as 6.02 meters in the indoor track, which he set in March of 2002.
His proudest accomplishments in pole vault include "making two Olympic teams," as well as "setting several American records." "Both are achievements that I worked very hard to accomplish," he said.
He was drawn to pole vault since the sport challenges every aspect of one's abilities: physical technical and mental.
Each day, Hartwig is motivated by looking at every day as a new opportunity. "An opportunity to do something you have never done, or to put in work that will be the stepping stone to success in the future," he explained.
Regarding the key to longevity in track and field, he said that it involves staying positive and healthy. "I never let the highs be too high or the lows be too low. For staying healthy, I treat small problems like big ones and try to nip them before they become big ones," he said.
For aspiring athletes who wish to pursue a sports career in the pole vault, he said, "Make a plan and be specific. Most pole vaulters go out each day and just go through the routine. Even if they train hard, many do not have a specific plan on how they will improve."
Digital transformation of pole vault
On the impact of technology in track and field, he said, "Technology has the potential to improve how track and field is presented. We now have the ability to track long throws with a tracer on television that shows the flight path. We can measure distances more quickly with electronic measuring systems that speed the flow of competition. Hopefully, as these continue to develop, the sport will be presented even better."
When asked how he uses technology on a daily basis, the veteran pole vaulter responded, "Technology, on cell phones in particular, gives every athlete the ability to video and share information. This information becomes a stimulus for new ideas and ways to think and look at problems."
Hartwig had nothing but the kindest remarks about two contemporary pole vaulters, Shawn Barber and Sam Kendricks, both of which won the 2015 and 2017 World Championships in pole vault respectively. "First, let me say that I feel very lucky and privileged to have the chance to work with, share, and be a part of the success of both of these young men," he said.
"Shawn [Barber] is an incredible talent in the pole vault," Hartwig said. "He has broken through barriers that many coaches and athletes thought were not practical. He grips higher than any other vaulter and has caused a lot of other vaulters to rethink their ideas on what the limitations of technique should be. As a person, he is a very big-hearted, thoughtful guy. Sometimes his quiet demeanor hides this fact but he really has a big heart, and is very thoughtful of others."
He continued, "Sam Kendricks is the kind of guy that everyone wants as a friend. He is always happy, and very positive to be around. Even in the heat of competition, he can be found cheering and encouraging his competitors. Like Shawn, he has also shown that some of the traditional ideas of what technique is supposed to be like is not always what it is. His consistency at a high level is among the best in the history of the event. He and his father/coach's approach to the pole vault is very calculated and deliberate."
Jeff Hartwig
Jeff Hartwig
suppled by Jeff Hartwig
Hartwig defined the word success as "Accomplishing something you are trying to do, especially when you question whether you even believed it was possible yourself. " "This can happen at all levels. From beginner to the highest level, there are many ways to have success," he explained.
For his fans, the iconic pole vaulter concluded, "Thank you! When I started in the sport I never had aspirations to be a record holder or make Olympic teams. Those things seem completely out of the realm of possibility at that time. I pole vaulted because it was the most fun thing I had ever done in sports. As I developed, I reformed my ideas and made a plan to accomplish those things. What I never counted on was the support I received from fans along the way. When asked about my favorite meets or places to jump, I often think of the roar of the crowd or the reactions I received from people as I did what I was doing just because it was the most fun thing I had ever done."
To learn more about acclaimed pole vaulter Jeff Hartwig, check out his official homepage.
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