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Pole Vault Coach Rick Suhr

Started by mhaesly, August 19, 2008, 04:11:49 PM

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I stayed up Monday night and watched the women's pole vault final. After the event was over they showed Jenn Stuczynski who just won the silver medal walk over to her coach. In front of the world his comments to Jenn were hurtful, critical, and unprofessional for a coach. As a pole vault coach this was very disturbing to watch. Rick Suhr should be banned from coaching pole vault forever. Jenn Stuczynski should get a new coach. Congratuations Jenn you have my praise for winning the silver!


I would have to agree.  I am sure he was frustrated that she did not jump a PR and compete with Isi for gold but that is no excuse.  He has always came off to me as being a jerk.  He should have been excited that his athlete who he sought out and coached from the beginning just won a silver medal in her first Olympics.

For those of you who missed it, I have the brief coverage on my DVR of the prelims and finals.  Hopefully they will show more of the men but I am not holding my breath.
Chris Milton
Eden Prairie HS PV Coach

Kurt Riska

i agree coach suhr needs a lesson in being a human.  on jenn's site there is a email for rick. it's  i suggest we all send him a "helpful reminder" on how to be a supportive coach.



I completely agree with all of you.  I get it that you want to go over the technique and talk about what did and did not work, but that stuff can wait.  He really took away from what should have been her proudest moment.  She did great and I'm happy she was representing USA.  She, in contrast, sounded positive and upbeat in her post competition interview.
Caroline White
U of MN Women's Pole Vault Coach

Directions to FDA, White's home

Flight Deck Athletics, Inc.
5701 Rhode Island Ave N
Crystal MN  55428


Geez, what a jerk....[:(!] Here is a link about the whole deal and if you scroll down to the comment section there is a link of the actual exchange. (If you are interested).

Oh- and a vaulting pole tip won't make you a better pole vaulter[:)]
Dan Michalski

Moundsview H.S. Boys Vault Co-Coach

Mike Soule

There was quite a discussion on this very subject on the polvaultpower website. There were also a couple of links to the interviews that Jenn did after the meet. What I read was she didn't have a problem with Rick's conduct. In fact she even said in one of the interviews that when she asks her coach about anything she expects him to give it to her straight. He did exactly that. Now, would I take his approach in the same situation? Heck no. As most of us coaches know you save that stuff for the evening after or the day after. But for crimenie sakes, if your vaulter "wants it straight" and you're in front of a worldwide audience, at least have a big "sh*t eatin'" grin on your face when you're saying it. I watched all 6 hours of both the ladies and mens qualifications and finals and I'm sure those Russian
coaches weren't expounding "warm fuzzies" to their athletes either.Did Suhr act like a jerk? I don't really know but he sure came off as one. Later.............Mike Soule

Mike Soule

Here is the interview with Jenn. I got it off of the PVP website.

Jenn Stuczynski wants to set the record straight.

The American silver medalist in the pole vault is not a trash talker, as the Russians seem to believe. She's not a bullied victim of an abusive coach, as a legion of Internet fans seem to believe. She's more than happy with her performance.

But Stuczynski is upset that the joy of her medal, won just four years after she first started training for the event, has been swallowed by controversy.

In an emotional interview Friday, the 26-year-old from Fredonia, N.Y., told how words and images taken out of context in the coverage of her duel with gold medalist Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia made the days after Monday's event miserable.

"I was so depressed," Stuczynski said. "It was awful. It's so hard," she continued, fighting back tears without much success. "You work so hard, and people take it away."

The first controversy erupted over a quote Stuczynski gave during a press conference after she won the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene in July. Asked how she thought the team would do in the Games, Stuczynski said, "I hope we do some damage, and, you know, kick some Russian butt."

It was a rah-rah quote that was mostly forgotten after she said it. "It was me and my teammates, in an emotional moment," Stuczynski said, noting that Russia has five of the top vaulters in the world, and finished 1-3-4 in Beijing. "It was a pep rally, one of those things that was, 'Come on let's go. We're not going to go over there, roll over and die. We want to fight.' "

Stuczynski never meant it as a putdown. "It wasn't intended to be malicious," she said. "It would be pretty stupid of me to come out and say before my first Olympics that, you know what, I'm gonna beat the world record holder."

But the Russian media seized on the quote as a personal insult to Isinbayeva, one of the most popular female athletes in the world who has dominated the event. Much of the rest of the press ran with the story line after Isinbayeva won convincingly, setting a new world record with a jump of 16 feet, 6 3/4 inches.

"I guess in translation it's gotten messed up, and it becomes personal and I'm attacking her and I'm a trash talker," Stuczynski said. "And that's the part that's hurts because that's not it at all."

Isinbayeva helped the narrative at her post-victory press conference. She said Stuczynski's remark motivated her, adding, "She must respect me and know her position. Now she knows it."

Stuczynski couldn't answer her in the press conference, because she had to go through doping control.

That media tempest was a mere squall before what was to come. On the NBC telecast, on tape delay some 12 hours later, the network miked Stuczynski's coach, Rick Suhr, who discovered her on a basketball court four years ago and convinced her to try the pole vault. In the time since, training her and several other athletes in a makeshift facility in Churchville, N.Y., he's coached her to an American record and silver medals in world championships and now the Olympics.

After Stuczynski missed her final attempt at 4.90 meters, the camera followed her to Suhr's spot in the stands. NBC captured the following remarks from a surly sounding Suhr, who was talking to her while text-messaging:

"(It's) the same old same old. You're losing take-off at the big heights. What are you gonna do. You gotta learn to keep take-off. You got9you got caught at that meat grinder. I did not