American pole vaulter Katie Nageotte earned a gold medal for Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday. The 30-year-old from Ohio was able to clear an impressive height of 4.9 meters (16 feet, one inch). This was a challenge for Nageotte, who failed her first two attempts at the first height of 4.5 meters (14 feet, nine inches). But she cleared it on her third try, then went on to clear 4.7 meters (15 feet, 5 inches), then 4.8 (15 feet, nine inches), and then 4.85 meters (15 feet, 11 inches) before getting 4.9 meters. Impressively, Nageotte was one of only four other pole vaulters to clear the 4.7-meter height.
This was an Olympic debut for Nagoette. She tried for the 2016 Rio Olympics, but came in fifth during the Trials that year. She clearly made up for it when she qualified for the Tokyo Olympics during the Trials with a personal-best pole vault of 4.95 meters (16 feet, three inches).
After winning gold, Nagoette attempted a 5.01-meter (16 feet, five inches) vault to break the US record, but decided not to follow through with the attempt. Instead, she was ready to celebrate her amazing gold victory! Her joyful reaction while hugging silver medalist Anzhelika Sidorova or the Russian Olympic Committee is so emotional, we can't help but tear up, too!
And to add to the emotion, Nagoette shared this tweet back in 2018. Her late father, who passed away in 2007 from a heart attack, was her biggest fan. She has "DAD" written on the inside of her spikes, and taps them before she jumps during any competition for support and inspiration. Ahead, see a photo of her shoe mid-vault, then check out more photos of her in action and her emotional reaction after winning gold.
For my entire career, since he passed away, I’ve written “Dad” on the inside of my spike and I tap it before big jumps. This is the first picture I’ve ever received with me doing it, and the fact that it’s in a Team USA uniform makes it that much more special. 🇺🇸❤️ pic.twitter.com/nwbPg0v2TV
For my entire career, since he passed away, I’ve written “Dad” on the inside of my spike and I tap it before big jumps. This is the first picture I’ve ever received with me doing it, and the fact that it’s in a Team USA uniform makes it that much more special. 🇺🇸❤️ pic.twitter.com/nwbPg0v2TV— Katie Nageotte (@ktnago13) July 16, 2018