06 November, 2019

"I think it's time for a leap of faith"

  • © IAAF Diamond League

In our latest video feature, US pole vault star Sandi Morris remembers the struggles of her early career and explains how she pushed through adversity to make it to the very top of her discipline.

Sandi Morris is ranked world number three in the women's pole vault and can boast of a glistening array of championships medals, including silvers from the 2017 World Championships and the 2016 Olympic Games. But the 27-year-old's career path to the top has not all been plain sailing. 

Speaking to the IAAF Diamond League earlier this year, Morris recalls how she nearly lost her way trying to balance the pole vault with her studies before a move to Arkansas put her firmly back on the runway. 

Originally from North Carolina, the USATF star initially started her veterinary studies in her home university of UNC Chapel Hill, but decided to move two states westward after finding that her athletic development had stalled. 

In our extended feature, she explains how a new environment and the tough regime of her coach helped her overcome a crippling fear of no-heighting, and put her back on the path to success.

The move has certainly done wonders for Morris, who turned professional in 2015 and has since established herself as a fierce competitor for fellow pole vault stars Katerina Stefanidi and Anzhelika Sidorova. 

Though yet to beat Stefanidi to either the Diamond Trophy or a major outdoor title, Morris has been hot on the heels of the Greek star for several years, and outshone her at the Diamond League Final in 2016.

In Brussels that year, she became the first (and still the only) athlete to clear the five-metre mark at a Diamond League meeting, marking the second highest jump in the history of the women's pole vault. 

Along with her gold medal triumph at the World Indoor Championships last year, that evening remains the highlight of Morris' career so far. Yet at only 27 years of age, she has her sights set on much more glory.

"Do I want to win an Olympic gold medal? Yes!" she declares in our interview. It is a title, along with her first ever Diamond Trophy, at which she will get another shot next summer.