My Pole Vaulting Daughter

Tulani pole vaulting for Indiana State University.

My daughter Tulani pole valuting.  She was one of the first to take it up when the event was added to college women’s track in 1996 as an exhibition event.  In 1997 NCAA recognized and scored women’s pole vault as a regular meet event.  She competed as a part of Central Michigan University’s Track team where she held the school record and was ranked in the top three Divsion I women vaulters in the state of Michigan.  Tulani also pole valuted as a member of the Indiana State track team where this picture was taken.

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28 thoughts on “My Pole Vaulting Daughter

  1. Wow. And she actually looks like she’s having a good time. What a winner!!

  2. Another post where all I can think of to say is, “LOVE THIS, in so many ways!” You have the photo = win! You have a great story = win! And, obviously you have a very special daughter = BIG , HUGE WIN!!! Thanks for sharing Kristin.

    1. It was great! I don’t remember being scared at all, determined, driven and sometimes mad that I couldn’t get to all come together for a bigger vault. But I had an awsome coach and some really great team mates who got me started and supported me along the way. There was so much to prove that first year, to myself, my team, and to all the people who still didn’t think women could do it.

  3. What a flight! This week I watched a report on the challenges that pole vaulters have when traveling with their 16-18ft equipment. Not easy around the house or apartment either I’d think.

    1. Since she was away at college when she was traveling with the track team, I’m assuming they had a bus for the equipment. I will have to check. I don’t think she had her very own pole that she kept in her dorm room.

    2. Traveling and storing the poles was never a problem for us. If we were traveling with and when the entire team was going, then we just put them on the bus. The were contained in a really long pipe like thing that fit them all in, it took two people to carry it, one at each end and we would put it on the bus through the back emergency exit door and it would sit on the floor in the middle of the bus. If we were traveling in the van, as we often did for some of the closer, meets since vault was one of the first events and we had to be there at the crack of dawn, then we would attach them to the side of the van, or they got tied on top. We never lost a pole or ran into anyone while on the road. For storage, they lived in the field house, there was a pole rack, where the poles were sorted and stored based on weight class, length, etc.
      I never tried to keep one in my dorm room, but I did have one in my apartment once, a couple stored in the garage at my parents house. Long as you don’t try to bend them and have tall ceilings or a hallway they shouldn’t present much of a problem.

  4. She looks strong and athletic. I’ve always heard that women’s typical body type isn’t conducive to pole vaulting. So that’s why I don’t pole vault. Yeah, that’s it. That’s why.

  5. I like how she is smiling in the midst of her jump! Great picture, and to think that Tulani was one of the pioneers in making the sport official for women. Wonderful.

    Kathy M.

  6. Kristin, how fantastic. I see we are both mothers of trackies! and yes, to be able to make the body do your bidding, even when you ask the extraordinary of it, what a gift that is to possess. Your girl is a vision of power and grace.

    1. Yes we are. I thought about that when I read your posts about your son. And yes Tulani is even now a vision of power and grace.

      At this point, I would appreciate my body doing my bidding when I ask the ordinary of it!

  7. Wonderful picture of a special moment. You can see the joy in Tulani’s face – what a great achievement for her to be one of the first women in this sport.

  8. From someone who likes to keep both feet on the ground, I am always amazed when I see athletes do that. A great moment captured here!!

    1. I’m so glad someone took the photo. I like to keep my feet on the ground too. She came through it none the worse for wear.

      1. Sure!! some people are gifted and she seemed to enjoy it so much!!
        And in this time of the Olympic Games, it is such an appropriate choice. I said it before: You got a pic for EVERY occasion!!

  9. Oh Wow. How wonderful. I also love the smile.
    I think Tulani is such a beautiful and unusual name. What is the origin?

    1. We gave all of my children both an African name and a family name. Since we didn’t know many African names we used African name books that were popular at the time. The book said Tulani was an South African girls name meaning peaceful. I just googled and they said it was a boy’s name! Oh well, all the African American’s named Tulani that I know are girls so maybe we are starting a new naming tradition here.

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