Top athletes compete in the Capitol District Pole Vault

Vaulters from across the country are competing in Omaha, a summer sports hub.
Posted at 6:21 PM, Jul 08, 2021

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - The Capitol District is the site of a "pole vault party" where high school, collegiate and elite pole vaulters are competing in a city setting.

Elite pole vaulter Kortney Oates hopes the competition exposes more people to the sport.

"Pole vault is just one of those events, it has that adrenaline rush to it. If we could get more kids into it we could make U.S. pole vaulting even better," Oates said.

Former pole vaulter, Tyler Loontjer explains what it is like to sprint down that runway.

"I picture a vault, going through the perfect vault in my head, and then after that, not thinking, just doing," Loontjer said.

Loontjer is careful about not overthinking when it comes to the sport.

"Running down the runway, I try to have nothing in my head," Loontjer said. "How fast can you run, how hard can you hit it? Back here, you're going through the mental preparation."

Lindsay Toussant with Omaha Sports Commission believes the thrill of seeing live sports resonates with crowds.

"Anybody can follow the event, it is simple," Toussant said. "Did they make it over the bar or not? You don't have to understand pole vault as a whole and the specifics behind it."

Sports breeds confidence; at least, that's what it did for Oates.

"It kind of gave me that outlet to have something where I had to run really fast at a pit and gain the confidence to do things that were scary," Oates said.

Toussant is hoping this experience will do the same for the next generation of elite athletes.

"For people to get to experience pole vault or see pole vault, it may be something they haven't been exposed to before and maybe an opportunity they don't know exists for them," Toussant said.

This is the second year this Street Vault event is happening at the Capitol District.

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