Bloomberg News

Reigning Olympic Pole Vault Champion Hooker Qualifies for London

May 11, 2012

Steve Hooker, the Olympic champion pole vaulter from Australia, qualified to defend his gold medal in London after overcoming a loss of confidence that saw him take a three-month break from competitions.

Hooker cleared the 5.72 meter (18.8 feet) qualifying height on his second attempt at a meet in Perth yesterday. He will defend the title he secured in Beijing with an Olympic record 5.96 meter leap, winning him Australia’s only athletics gold at the tournament.

“For a while there I thought I was a shoe-in to make London and losing that certainty and having to fight like I have to get back was a challenge I didn’t see coming,” Hooker said on Athletics Australia’s website. “It has been months and months of jumps, jumps and more jumps - thousands of jumps seriously - to be back at this level.”

Hooker’s international titles include the 2009 world championship, the 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medals, the 2010 world indoor championship and a 6.06 meter Australian and Oceania record, according to Athletics Australia.

He decided not to compete in the Australian domestic athletics season because his “auto pilot” wasn’t working, Hooker wrote in the Daily Telegraph in February.

“The confidence I require to stand at the end of the runway and then charge down, land my pole and soar almost six meters into the air has left me for the time being,” he said at the time.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah McDonald in Sydney at smcdonald23@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Tighe at ptighe@bloomberg.net


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