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Suhr Calls Current Situation ‘Bigger Than The Olympic Games’

Fredonia native Jenn Suhr has won Olympic silver and gold during her pole vaulting career. AP file photo

Reluctant to take the national focus away from those affected by the outbreak of COVID-19, Fredonia native and Olympic silver and gold medalist Jenn Suhr responded to the International Olympic Committee’s decision to postpone the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Suhr, the No. 1 American pole vaulter since 2006, released a statement on her Facebook page ahead of the committee’s announcement Tuesday, saying: “Not always do I find myself unable to put thoughts into words. The current situation our world is facing is bigger than the Olympic Games … I feel extremely selfish talking about sports with the heartache, hardship and sadness this country and world are facing and going to face.”

Suhr, who celebrated her 38th birthday in February and would be 39 should the games take place next summer, captured Olympic gold at the 2012 London Games and Olympic silver at the 2008 Beijing Games, but came down with a severe illness during the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games and finished in seventh place.

Since beginning her career in 2004, she has won 17 U.S. national championships (seven indoor, 10 outdoors); holds the world indoor pole vault record (16 feet, 6 inches); and is the American women’s record holder indoor.

“Yes it’s a heartbreaker and it’s tough, but we are all in for a lot tougher battles here: medically and economically,” Suhr’s husband and coach Rick added on his Facebook page. “As important as the Olympics may be, bigger challenges are ahead. There will be hardship and sadness ahead.”

“Our priorities are to stay safe, make sure our elderly neighbors have what they need, follow our great countries guidelines to help as much as we can,” he continued. “We have stayed quiet about the Olympics for it’s not where the fight is right now. The battle is everyone’s safety and helping as we can.”

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