Written by Steve Bradley, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
Olympic pole vaulting champion Jenn Suhr is going green. Or at least fairway.
Suhr, who won a gold medal at the London Olympics in August, will participate in the New York Invite Series, a sanctioned pole vault event, on Friday at White Birch Golf Course, 1515 North Lyndonville Rd., Lyndonville, Orleans County.
The event begins at 5:30 p.m. will take place on the second fairway and features six pole vaulters, including Suhr, Janice Kepler of Medina, the fourth-ranked women's pole vaulter in the United States, and Heather Hamilton, a top Canadian pole vaulter.
White Birch is owned by Harold Suhr, the brother of Jenn Suhr's husband and coach Rick Suhr. Rick Suhr said admission is free and 2,000 posters of his wife will be given to those in attendance.
Rick Suhr said one of the most frequently asked questions his wife hears from area fans is "Where can I see you jump?" This event, located about 50 miles from both Rochester and Buffalo, will give people from western New York's two largest cities that opportunity. Jenn Suhr was born and raised in Fredonia, south of Buffalo, and now lives in Riga. She was a standout basketball player at Roberts Wesleyan College in North Chili before taking up pole vaulting in 2004. She won the first of her 13 national titles 10 months later and the Olympic silver medal in Beijing in 2008.
Jenn Suhr, 31, coming off a victory at the adidas Grand Prix Diamond League meet on Randall's Island in New York City this weekend. Suhr was the only vaulter to clear 15 feet in conditions her husband described as "brutal" with a wind-chill in the 30s.
"I've never seen a field of great pole vaulters just get buzz-sawed like that," he said.
He also expects good competition this weekend for his wife, who is ranked No. 1 in the world.
"She's not going there to jump low," Rick Suhr said. "She's in great shape, she's healthy and she's jumping well."