Greenville native Sandi Morris has been a natural athlete all her life. At age seven, playing around at her older sister’s soccer game, she offered a boy a quarter to race her, and beat him handily. The boy’s mother, who was sitting near Sandi’s parents, told them of a track team for kids her age. That was the beginning that led to Morris’s silver medal for the women’s pole vault in the 2016 Rio summer Olympics. Then, only three weeks later in Brussels, she set the American women’s outdoor pole vault record of five meters, or 16’5”, a feat which only three women in the world have accomplished.
Her mother, Kerry, is naturally proud of Sandi, but not only as a parent. She also was Sandi’s high school track coach. She says Sandi is so good at the pole vault because she’s a fast runner, a good jumper, and she has long arms, which act as levers when interacting with the pole. She’s also a bit of a daredevil, her mother says. As a professional track athlete, Sandi participates in meets all over the world from January to September. But her calendar has long been marked for the 2020 Olympic games, when she plans to beat her own performance and win gold in Tokyo.