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Olympic gold medalist Katie Moon returns to Olmsted Falls to host the Pole Vault Classic – Morning Journal

Olmsted Falls alum and defending Olympic gold medalist Katie Moon (center) returns to her hometown to host the Katie Moon Pole Vault Classic on June 8. (Travis Nelson – The Morning Journal)

Katie Moon is back at her old stomping ground and brought along some of the best pole vaulters in the country.

The 2020 Olympic gold medalist and Olmsted Falls alum has returned to her home community to host the Katie Moon Pole Vault Classic on June 8.

Returning to where her love for pole vaulting began, it’s safe to say it will mean a lot to her to compete.

“It’s amazing,” Moon said. “I like coming home. I am a homely person, I always have been. To come back here and jump on the runway where I first started, the first time I ever picked up a pole was on that runway. I’m sure I’ll cry six times. It’s going to be great, I’m so happy to be back.”

Moon had been thinking about organizing an event like this for years, and it finally came to fruition. When she was in Paris last year, she expressed her interest in it. Moon’s agent, Karen Locke, took the idea and made it a reality.

“I’m so grateful for her,” Moon said of Locke. “She went to Nike. Luckily, the shoe guys at Nike are pole vaulters. It’s great for us, and I’m so grateful that they love the pole vault. They got to work on it right away and she took over the reins. For me this is literally a dream come true.”

While on the biggest stage in the world at the Tokyo Olympics, Moon thought there must be another place where some of the best pole vaulters in the world could gather. This event will do that.

The pole vaulters are competitors, but at the end of the day they are very good friends. It meant a lot to some of the athletes who came to Olmsted Falls to make this dream come true for Moon. Locke also represents other top pole vaulters in the United States, resulting in some close connections.

“We’re all friends with Katie. We all love Katie,” Emily Grove said. “I have the same agent, Karen Locke, as Katie. We traveled a lot together, so of course I liked to support her and also tried to jump high. … The timing is perfect. It’s a few weeks before the court hearings, so you’ll be in for a high-intensity encounter.

Grove, a South Dakota alum, is one of 11 named participants in the event. She was available for the June 7 press conference along with Moon and Gabi Leon.

Leon was the 2022 NCAA outdoor champion at Louisville. Among a group of experienced pole vaulters, her resume stands out for that distinction.

These athletes are not only good friends, but they also want to win. Competing against the best competition is sure to bring out the best in them before the competitions take place later this month. This is an opportunity to set high standards and peak at the right time before the Olympic Games.

“I love it. I am a competitor through and through,” said Leon. “I love my fellow competitors, but I also want to beat them. Participating in competitions is my best habit. If you have people who jump higher than you or at the same level as you, then I can dial in more and bring out the competitiveness and really go for it.”

There will be a homecoming, there will be a lot at stake and there will be a nice atmosphere. The plan is to create a more upbeat environment than most athletic competitions with music and marching band.

Moon has been all over the world and done so much as a pole vaulter, but the feeling of competing in Olmsted Falls again might trump the rest. She is curious to see what she can do on the way to defending her gold medal.

“I think a lot of us are really struggling to get in shape,” Moon said. “There’s just something about the vault that requires adrenaline. There’s something about the competition that’s changing a bit. Quality meetings prior to the trials are of crucial importance to us. This is the perfect time to dial in.”

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