OBSERVER Staff Report
The reigning Olympic women's pole vaulter champion Jenn Suhr visited the SUNY Fredonia campus Thursday as a guest of Tom Wilson, the Blue Devil head cross country and track & field coach.
Meanwhile she will be making an official public visit for the rest of the community late next week.
Olympic pole vault champion Jenn Suhr, center, poses between her husband and coach Rick, left, and Fredonia State head track & field coach Tom Wilson during a campus visit Thursday around noon.
Suhr, a Fredonia native, was accompanied by her husband and coach, Rick.
"We're here visiting our long-time friend Tom Wilson," Rick Suhr said during the visit around noon Thursday.
"I met Rick almost 12 years ago," Wilson added. "I competed with him when I was still up-and-coming. The relationship expanded from there."
Wilson, a Fredonia State alum, competed in the pole vault collegiately and at open meets following graduation. He also served as his alma mater's pole vault coach prior to becoming head coach.
Jenn Suhr won the gold medal at the 2012 Summer Games in London and has been ranked as the No. 1 American women's pole vaulter since 2006. She has won 11 U.S. national championships and holds both the U.S. indoor and outdoor records in the event.
Starting Sept. 22, Suhr will be making three visits in Western New York to showcase her gold medal.
On Sept. 22, a Gold Medal Celebration is set for 5 p.m. at Barker Common, Fredonia. No tickets are needed.
"I received so much support and encouragement from the region that I want to share, celebrate and educate people about my journey toward gold," Suhr said in a news release. "The Olympics are so much more than a simple sports competition. Who knows? Maybe I can help inspire a young local girl to lead the next generation of pole vault champions."
"When Rick called me I was pretty excited," Wilson continued during a phone interview. "The fact that he thought of me was great. It's really great that she's been able to do what she's done. We're honored to have someone like her."
After visiting Fredonia, Suhr will visit her alma mater Roberts Wesleyan College Sept. 28 as part of the school's Homecoming Weekend at 8 p.m. Complimentary tickets are available for up to 2,000 people at select Wegmans locations. Fireworks will follow.
Then on Sunday, Sept. 30, Suhr will be part of the Buffalo Bills pre-game ceremony at 10:30 a.m. A competition will be held inside Buffalo Bills Fieldhouse during the Gameday Experience. The event is open to the public.
"I want these vault competitions to be the most fun and unique street vaults in the country," Suhr said. "So bring the family and enjoy our own little Olympics right here in Western New York."
Suhr, the daughter of Mark and Sue Stuczynski, graduated from Fredonia High School in 2000. She currently lives in Churchville, N.Y. outside of Rochester.
"This will be an amazing opportunity to see the world's best pole vaulter," Wilson concluded. "I'm glad to be part of it."
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