Image: Jenn Suhr wins the womens pole vault at 15-9 3/4 (4.82m) in the 2015 USA Championships at Hayward Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sport
By Gene Cherry
(Reuters) – Olympic pole vault champion Jenn Suhr does not plan to compete in next month’s IAAF indoor championships even though she has just broken her world indoor record, the American said on Tuesday.
A desire for more gold at the Rio Games and the stress of having to go through the U.S. trials and the world indoor championships with just four days in between led Suhr and her coach to rule out the March 17-20 worlds in Portland, Oregon.
Plans did not change after Suhr boosted her world record to 5.03 metres (16 feet, 6 inches) on Saturday in Brockport, New York.
“Right now, it is still off the table,” she said of the world indoor championships during a teleconference.
“I am not sure that is something I want to do in an Olympic year,” she said of having to finish in the top two in the U.S. championships on March 12 and then competing against the world’s best on March 17.
“That is just asking a lot,” said Suhr, who will celebrate her 34th birthday on Friday.
Healthy and having fun after two years of up-and-down results, the Olympic gold medallist added a centimetre to her 2013 world indoor record with her third-attempt clearance at Saturday’s college meeting.
“When I am ready to jump it doesn’t matter where I jump,” Suhr said.
And the record was not a surprise.
“I knew from what was happening in practise, things were working out well,” Suhr said.
One of only three women to win Olympic pole vault gold, the American hopes to challenge two-time Russian Olympic champion Yelena Isinbayeva’s 2009 outdoor world record of 5.06 metres later this year.
Suhr attempted to go even higher than that on Saturday, three times unsuccessfully vaulting at 5.07 metres, the highest height ever tried by a woman, athletics officials said.
“The second attempt didn’t feel all that high,” Suhr said of a mark she hopes to try again at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston on Feb. 14.
Although the World Health Organization has declared the mosquito-borne Zika virus an international health emergency, Suhr said she was not overly concerned about the Rio Games, believing U.S. and international Olympic officials would protect athletes in Brazil, where the virus has spread rapidly.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)
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