Former University of Washington pole vaulter Brad Walker (2000-04) won the U.S. Olympic Trials Thursday night at Hayward Field in Eugene, OR, qualifying for the London Olympic Games. Another ex-Husky, Scott Roth, finished third, but will not go to London because he had not previously achieved an Olympic qualifying standard.
Walker will represent the USA in the Olympics for the second time (also 2008). Roth was seeking to make his Olympic debut.
Walker, a Spokane native (University High) who famously no-heighted in Beijing, China, after entering the Games as the favorite to win the gold medal, won by clearing 18-7 1/4. Walker is the American record holder in the pole vault, clearing 19-9 1/2 at the Prefontaine Classic in June, 2008, two months before his disappointment in Beijing.
Walker has mostly been absent from the world vaulting stage for the past couple of years, but resumed competition earlier this year and dominated the field Thursday.
He passed on the opening height of 17-8 1/2, then cleared 18-0 1/2 on his first attempt. Walker missed his first attempt at 18-4 1/2, but cleared it on his second attempt. He also missed his first attempt at 18-7 1/4, but cleared it on his second attempt, which proved to be his winning jump.
Walker attempted three times to clear 19-1, but was unsuccessful.
Roth, like Walker, passed at 17-8 1/2, cleared 18-0 1/2 on his second attempt, cleared 18-4 1/2 on his second attempt, passed at 18-7 1/4 and missed all three jumps at 18-9 1/4.
The second-place finisher, Jeremy Scott of Nike, secured that spot on the basis of fewer misses (3) than Roth (5). Derek Miles finished fourth, but will go to London because he had achieved the Olympic qualifying standard where Roth had not.
Jarred Rome, who attended Marysville-Pillchuck High School and Boise State, also qualified for the London Olympics Thursday by finishing second in the discus throw with a heave of 207-10.