Olympic pole vault champ jumps to support Boston 2024 bid
BOSTON (AP) — Olympic pole vault champion Jenn Suhr would consider sticking around for the 2024 Summer Games if she had a chance to compete in the United States.
Suhr said on Tuesday that a Boston Olympics would give the Americans a big advantage.
“The athletes are really excited about it and really want it here,” Suhr said Tuesday when she was in Boston to train for the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix at the Reggie Lewis Center. “If I could, I’d never want to travel. I’d want it right here.”
Boston won the U.S. competition to land the Olympics this month, beating Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The IOC is expected to choose in 2017 from among Boston, Rome and potential bids from Paris, Johannesburg and Berlin or Hamburg, Germany.
The bid has drawn opposition from some in the city who would rather devote the resources to education and public transportation than new stadiums.
But athletes relish the idea of competing at home, Suhr said — not just for the comfort and easy travel but for the home-field advantage they get from the crowds. Nations hosting the Olympics regularly post bigger medal counts than they do in other years.
“All of the sudden, the athletes are doing better than they thought they could,” she said. “If they could get the Olympics and win it, the Americans would have such an advantage.”
Suhr won a silver medal at the Beijing Games and gold in London in 2012. Although she is concentrating on making it to Rio de Janeiro in 2016, she finds herself thinking about 2024 — when she will be 42.
“I know some vaulters that have made it in their 40s,” she said, including Jeff Hartwig, who placed second at the U.S. Olympic trials in 2008 as a 40-year-old. “If it’s in Boston, we’ll give it a shot.”
Suhr, who lives and trains outside of Rochester, New York, said Boston has been like a second home for her since winning the 2005 U.S. Indoor championships here as an unknown rookie.
“It’s always been a place I feel comfortable,” she said.
“I can’t think of a better place than Boston. It’s such a sports town,” she said on Tuesday, two days after the New England Patriots advanced to the Super Bowl for the sixth time since 2001. “Not only that, but the teams are really good.”