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Bud Held 80 Years Old Pole Vaulter
Still pole vaulting at 80 years old.
From vaulting in high school on a vaulting pole made of bamboo, to the modern fiberglass or carbon fiber poles of today, Bud Held has seen the event of pole vaulting evolve over his many years of jumping. At the young age of 80, Bud Held set the world record in his age class of 80-84 in SpokaneWashington. On his third and final attempt he cleared the record height of 8 feet, 81/4 inches.
Bud Held, one amazing pole vaulter.
“I was relieved I finally got over that thing,” said Held. “I was having a bad day. I just couldn't get it together. My legs were tired and weak. I forced myself to do it and finally got over the darn thing.”
Pole Vaulting, Javelin, and the High Jump, Bud Held does it all.
Just this last October, (2008) Bud Held bested his previous record and vaulted 9 feet. Held, unsure of his future ability to continue to compete due to a recent rotator cuff surgery and five knee operations as a result of the sport, may be ending his jumping career as world record holder in his age class.
Not only does Bud Held hold the record for pole vaulting in his age class he also has set world records in the javelin, and the high jump.
Pole Vaulting partners.
Nadine O'Connor is a world champion record holder too.
Nadine O’Connor, Bud’s 66 year old partner, also holds the world record for women’s pole vaulting in two age groups, with her personal best of 10 feet, 4 3/4 inches. O’Connor did not even take up the sport of pole vaulting until she was in her late 50’s.
Bud Held, at his personal vaulting pit.
Where does an 80 year old pole vaulter practice their vaulting?
Pole vaulting is challenging for anyone, but imagine doing it with a body that typically rebels at that age when doing every day performances. It is challenging to deal with the fear factor, training schedules, and the everyday aches and pains associated with the sport and age, but the ultimate challenge came by way of finding a place to practice.
Training at UCSD for years near their home near San Diego, California, Held and O’Connor were forced to find another venue when the campus closed the pole vaulting facility to the public. They tried to find a local high school to practice in but the liability risk was too great for the schools to consider this request.
Undaunted, Hale and O’Connor solved the problem by
purchasing a piece of property in their area and building a 100-foot runway and
3 foot deep pit in the backyard to practice in.
Held also purchased a never-used set of foam pits from a high school in Saugus that had never
needed to use them.
More about Bud Held
- Audio of Franklin "Bud" Held by Growing Bolder, at growingbolder.com
Franklin Bud Held burst onto the world track and field scene with his record-breaking collegiate career at Stanford University, and at the age of 75, he's still smashing world records.
- Couple show age is no barrier in track and field - USATODAY.com
When Nadine O'Connor and Bud Held went looking for property to buy, they laid out three conditions with real estate agents. It had to be within a 10-minute drive of their house, large enough to accommodate a 100-foot runway and, when they stood at...
- Franklin Bud Held
Bud Held contributed to the sport of track and field in many ways but it was his excellence as a javelin thrower that brought him world recognition.
It is never too late to learn to Pole Vault.
What's ahead for Bud Held?
What are Bud Hale’s plans for his future in pole vaulting? Besides helping O’Connor set more records he plans on focusing his energy on his private athletic goals. Don Pellman of Santa Clara, California is 93 years old and had cleared 6 feet in a pole vault when he was 90.
“When I bought this place, I figured why not vault another 10 years. If Pellman's doing it, why can't I?” declared Hale.
Way to go Bud Hale you are a “Golden” medal vaulter!