• 77°

Sam Kendricks takes bronze in men’s pole vault at Rio games

Sam Kendricks claimed bronze in the men’s pole vault competition of the Rio Olympics inside the Olympic Stadium. It is the first medal for the United States in pole vaulting since the 2004 summer games in Greece.

The Oxford native and first ever Oxford High School alum to make it to the Olympics is now the first former Charger to become an Olympic medalist. Kendricks finished with a top-height of 5.85 meters (19 feet, 2.75 inches).

Kendricks nearly kept his Olympic journey alive, nearly clearing the bar at a height of 5.93 (19-5.5), which would have surpasses his personal best mark of 5.92. In an upset, host-country Brazil’s Thiago Braz da Silva bested 2012 gold medalist Ranaud Lavillenie of France, clearing a height of 6.03 (19-9.50) to claim gold. Czech Republic’s Jan Kudlicka and Poland’s Piotr Lisek rounded out the top five, both finishing with a top mark of 5.75

Sam breezed through the first mark of 5.50 but missed needed two attempts at 5.65 to clear it. After missing his first jump at 5.75 he passed and moved on to the next mark of 5.85. Due to passing after a fault at the previous height, Sam was only allowed one miss instead of the usual two.

Sam passed 5.85 on the first try and when Lisek missed as well, causing himself to be eliminated, it left three vaulters standing and meant Oxford’s native son was bring home an Olympic medal. The strategy of passing paid off.