Jump Sam Jump signs show support for Sam Kendricks in Olympics
By Allen Brewer
Support for Oxford Olympian Sam Kendricks is growing stronger every day leading up to Kendrick’s pole vault attempt in Rio De Janeiro on Saturday.
Businesses throughout Oxford are helping to spread words of encouragement for Kendricks. Heading up the local cheer team effort for the former Ole Miss athlete is Oxonian Jill Gardner, who created many of the “Jump Sam Jump” signs that are popping up around town, and is now making posters to help show her Oxford pride.
“I never wanted the signs to be a distraction, but Sam worked for years for this and we wanted to show that we support him,” Gardner said.
Gardner got the idea for the signs when she saw an Olympic poster while driving home recently. Gardner isn’t sure how the idea for the “Jump Sam Jump” slogan came to her but has since become a popular phrase since she started putting the posters up around Oxford.
With the help of her family and friends, Gardner was able to paint the banners and contact local businesses for their support by showcasing the signs. Some businesses donated paint and feature the signs along their shops on the Square.
“People were really kind to put them up,” Gardner said. “ Everyone was excited and proud for him and this gave them a tangible way to express that.”
Businesses like Callahan’s Quick Print are offering “Jump Sam Jump” yard signs for $20 each. Local school children are also getting in on the fun making “Jump Sam Jump” videos to cheer Oxford High School’s first-ever Olympian.
Local citizens can also cheer for their fellow Oxonian on Monday at Rafters, located on the Square, at the community watch party at 6 p.m. Food and drinks will be served and a special video will be shown before the Olympics finals.
“Sam left Oxford to go to Rio, and I thought there needed to be some fanfare,” Gardner said.