WNY pole vaulter Jenn Suhr announces retirement

CHURCHVILLE, NY (WIVB) – Olympic gold medalist pole vaulter and Fredonia native Jenn Suhr is retiring.

suhr nam Twitter Thursday saying, “It. Is. Official.” announcing her retirement from professional Track and Field. A simple tweet to close the chapter on a storied journey from Chautauqua County to the world stage.

At age 22, Suhr grabbed her first pole and jumped to the national spotlight, taking first place at the 2005 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships after just ten months of training.

This would be the first of 17 national championships Suhr would win.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 06: Jennifer Suhr of the United States competes in the Women's Pole Vault Final on Day 10 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 6, 2012 in London, England.
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Fast forward to 2008 and she took home silver at the Beijing Olympics with a 4.80 m/15 feet 9 inches jump.

At the 2012 London Olympics, she became the second American woman in the pole vault to win Olympic gold. She jumped 4.75 m / 15 feet 7 inches.

The Fredonia native still holds the USATF Indoor Championships Record, standing at 5.02 meters/16 feet 5.5 inches. Suhr set a personal best in 2016 with a jump of 5.03 m/16 feet 6 inches at SUNY Brockport.

In 2016, a virus prevented the two-time Olympian from competing for the podium in Rio.

“I am very fortunate to be able to end my career with the support and guidance of the same people I had around me when it began,” Suhr said in a press release. “First of all, I owe so much to my husband and coach, Rick, whose love and energy have been essential to clearing every bar for me for the past 18 years. I am very proud to represent Adidas from the start and I I am beyond grateful for the foundation and support they have given me throughout my career, and of course I want to thank my family, friends and everyone who has been there for me on this unforgettable journey.”

In 2020, she was named Pole Vaulter of the Decade by Track & Field News.

Suhr played basketball at Roberts Wesleyan College, where she has a master’s degree in school psychology. She is now 40 years old, lives in Churchville, NY, outside of Rochester, and is married to Rick Suhr, who was also her coach.

“I say goodbye, not with a heavy heart, but with an enthusiasm that fills my heart and soul. This small-town girl is ready for small-town life,” Suhr concluded her retirement tweet.

Patrick Ryan is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. View more of his work here.

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