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Jeff Hartwig - 2008 Summer Olympic Pole Vaulter

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Jeff Hartwig

Jeff Hartwig

Jonathan Ferrey / Getty Image Sports

Who:

Jeff Hartwig is an impressive pole vaulter who competed in the 1996 Olympics and will compete in the 2008 Olympics. He has vaulted over 19 feet in 102 meets. He jumped 18'8 1/4" at the Olympics games in 1996, finishing 11th. Hartwig is also a four-time US National Outdoor Champion for the years 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003. He was the US National Indoor Champion in 1999 and 2007 and has held both outdoor and indoor American records.

Early Life:

Jeff Hartwig was born in September 25, 1967 in St. Louis. He began his pole vaulting career at the age of 14. He attended college at Arkansas State University and graduated in 1990. He currently lives in Jonesburo with his wife and daughter.

After performing in the 1996 Olympics, Hartwig attempted to make the Olympic games two more times. He was the U.S. record holder, but he failed to clear the qualifying height and did not make the team.

2008:

Until 2008, Hartwig had the three highest jumps in U.S. history. His highest jump was made in 2000 when he reached 19'9 1/4." In June of 2008, Brad Walker broke that record by 2/4."

Even so, 40-year-old Hartwig is doing pretty good. He has already outperformed his last 2 Olympic attempts and earned a spot on the 2008 Olympic team. Way to go!

Fun Fact: Hartwig and His Reptiles:

One of Hartwig's hobbies is raising exotic reptiles, especially pythons. "Cammie," the largest snake in Arkansas, was donated to the Little Rock Zoo by Hartwig in 2008. I bet she knows some great pole vaulting stories!

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