“I had a fun time at home, but getting on the road was my first priority. They don’t give handicaps to people who weren’t able to train for whatever reason. The expectations have never gone down,” he said about life and training during the quarantine.
Last week, he set a new season’s best in the men’s pole vault competition with a clearance of 5.83 meters. “That was good. I had to chase for an American record to get second place so that sure tells you where things are standing right now. They are doing better than anyone in the country’s history that has ever taken part in the sport,” he said.
“I think pole vault is one of the highlight events in our sport, track and field, right now,” he said. “The guys are raising the expectations all the time and they are really pushing the bars up there, and that’s important.”
I’m not my best right off the plane, I need a few warm-up meets, for sure,” he added.
Kendricks shared that he is looking forward to the U.S. Olympic Trials this summer at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. “I am definitely looking forward to that though I have 10 meets before I get there and I am going to need every one of them to really get my game going. I need to get back up to the six-meter mark and I will need to be able to do that in America too,” he said.
Last year, Kendricks shattered Jeff Hartwig’s American indoor record in the pole vault with a clearance of 6.01 meters. “Jeff Hartwig’s record was six meters, he was the only other American to jump six meters indoors before. I topped it by one centimeter. It would have been fun to tie it. Though I’ve tied several of Jeff’s records before, he was standing right there and gave me the incentive to break it,” he said.
He shared that he was happy to participate in the 2021 Texas Expo Explosion on January 1, 2021. “That was great. The expo is a mold of an event for young jumpers to come together. It’s a melting pot for the sport. It’s a correlation between amateur and elite athletes. Elite pole vaulters don’t make up the sport, it’s the young ones that do. For me, there was a lot of nostalgia at the Texas Expo Explosion,” he said.
On his New Year’s resolutions for 2021, he said, “I want to break the American outdoor record again but I definitely want to make that U.S. Olympic team. It has been half a decade since I went to the Olympics and I want to go back again.”
Regarding the title of the current chapter of his life, Kendricks said, “Jumping for Dinner.”
At this stage of his life, the word success means “coming home with something new each time.” “The travel can be tough but I actually enjoy it, since it is worthwhile when you can bring family, friends, and victory home with you,” he said. “Victory doesn’t always mean gold records, there are a lot of cool things that come with it and having a good time.”
For his fans and supporters, Kendricks expressed his appreciation. “Hopefully, with the guys and the girls that are continuing to jump in the sport, you will be seeing me for a long time,” he said. “Mondo Duplantis and I have an accord that we will go until we can retire together at some point, that would be fun.”