Hooker Vaults Into Olympics In Odd Circumstances

How's this for an Olympic qualifying story?

Robert Whiteby Robert White

Olympic pole-vault champ Steve Hooker has booked his spot in the Australian side travelling to London after performing brilliantly at a somewhat strange event.

His major sponsor, Red Bull, incredibly constructed a previously abandoned railway station into an elite training facility in Hooker’s hometown of Perth. Even better, Athletics Western Australia agreed to sanction the event if he was able to reach the Olympic pole-vault qualifying mark of 5.72 meters.

The 29-year-old made the mark and then considered jumping at 5.83 before pulling out twice at the last second.

Hooker was using the event not just to qualify for the London team but also as a warm up for a return to the Diamond League competition in a week’s time.

Adding to this remarkable story, Hooker hadn’t competed for three months due to suffering the yips- the apparent loss of fine motor skills without explanation.

"The confidence I require to stand at the end of the runway and then charge down, land my pole and soar almost six meters into the air has left me for the time being," said Hooker in February.

The event featured around 150 spectators and an in-house DJ(!).

Hooker thanked his coach and labeled him a genius after his successful outing.