WNY pole vault Olympian Jenn Suhr announces retirement
CHURCHVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — Olympic pole vault gold medalist and Fredonia native Jenn Suhr is retiring.
Suhr took to Twitter Thursday saying, “It. Is. Official.” announcing her retirement from specialized Track and Field. A simple tweet, closing the chapter on a storied journey from Chautauqua County to the world stage.
At age 22, Suhr picked up her first pole and vaulted her way into the national spotlight, placing first at the 2005 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships after only ten months of training.
This would be the first of 17 national championships Suhr would win.
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Suhrs have a story to tell, and it’s not done however
Fast forward to 2008 and she brought home the silver at the Beijing Olympic Games with a vault of 4.80m/15 feet 9 inches.
At the 2012 London Olympic Games, she became the second American woman in the pole vault to win Olympic gold. She vaulted 4.75m/ 15 feet 7 inches.
The Fredonia native nevertheless holds the USATF Indoor Championships Record, clearing 5.02 meter/16 feet 5.5 inches. Suhr set a personal record in 2016 with a jump of 5.03m/16 feet 6 inches at SUNY Brockport.
In 2016, a virus stopped the two-time Olympian from vying for the podium in Rio.
Lavillenie attempts pole vault record, Fredonia native Jenn Suhr wins gold
“I feel very lucky to be ending my career with the sustain and guidance from the same people I had around me when it began,” Suhr said in a news release. “First and foremost, I owe so much to my husband and coach, Rick, whose love and energy were basic to me clearing every bar in front of me these last 18 years. I’m very proud to have represented Adidas from the start and I’m beyond grateful for the foundation and sustain they’ve given me throughout my career. And of course, I want to thank my family, friends and everyone that was there for me on this unforgettable journey.”
She was named Pole Vaulter of the Decade by Track & Field News in 2020.
Suhr played basketball at Roberts Wesleyan College, where she holds a master’s degree in school psychology. She’s now 40 years old, lives in Churchville, N.Y., outside Rochester, and is married to Rick Suhr, who also served as her coach.
“I say goodbye, not with a heavy heart, but with an enthusiasm that fills my heart and soul. This small town girl is ready for some small town living,” Suhr ended her retirement tweet with.
Patrick Ryan is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here.
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