By Bill Livingston
Two Olympic medalists have been famous at Quicken Loans area in Cleveland, Ohio, days sooner than Christmas 2004. One was once the Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James, the "Chosen One" of the NBA. He had a bronze medal from the Athens video games that summer season. the opposite used to be a Cleveland homeboy too, a gold medalist who had flown larger than an individual earlier than at the Olympic degree. infrequently somebody knew his identify. He used to be Tim Mack. His highschool trainer didn't see something relatively promising within the younger pole–vaulter. Mack by no means made it to the kingdom meet, and he was once the 1st to confess he had an apprehension of heights. yet due to his unflinching decision and self assurance, Mack went directly to turn out that he used to be whatever yet mediocre. In 2004 the younger athlete received the Olympic gold medal for pole vaulting. His bounce of nineteen ft 6–1/4 inches was once not just Mack's own most sensible however the maximum in Olympic background. Award-winning activities columnist invoice Livingston follows Mack as he practices one of many world's...
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Extra resources for Above and Beyond. Tim Mack, the Pole Vault, and the Quest for Olympic Gold
His parents bought four pricey seats only six rows behind the Cavs bench for themselves, Tim, and his young nephew. Most sports fans, no matter their age, harbor a twelve-year-old inside them. The eternal twelve-year-old talked baseball in his day, Willie, Mickey and the Duke. He listened to daytime World Series games on a transistor radio, smuggled by the grade school Resistance into classrooms. That twelve-year-old never really goes away. He resurfaces in curiosity, in flaring sparks of interest, even in enthusiasms.
But embrace it; don’t run from it. Learn from it,” he told the boys. If ever anyone spoke to a crowd that had had a lifetime of opportunities to give defeat a hug, it was Mack to a Cleveland audience. Many of the boys had never seen a championship Cleveland team in a major professional sport, and the same could have been said about their fathers. The Browns’ last NFL championship came in 1964. The Indians’ last World Series championship came in 1948. The Cavaliers were swept in 2007 in their first trip to the NBA Finals.
LeBron James? ” the reporter said finally, mimicking a jump shot. “Oh, I love NBA! ” shouted the Greek Secret Service man who had been giving him the third degree, as he wrapped his arm around the reporter’s shoulders. LeBron had that kind of name recognition. But if the Greek cop had wanted to meet a real American Olympian, it would have been a pole-vaulter. The pole vault gratifies the American appetite for spectacle and still fulfills the austere Olympic ideal of commitment to excellence because nothing else will do.
Above and Beyond. Tim Mack, the Pole Vault, and the Quest for Olympic Gold by Bill Livingston