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Former Ole Miss pole vaulter Sam Kendricks wins world title at IAAF Championships


16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017 - Day Five Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

The track and field world has turned its attention to London this week, as the planet’s most fit human beings are competing in the 2017 IAAF Championships. American miler Matthew Centrowitz is on the prowl for a world record, while former Oxford High and Ole Miss pole vaulter Sam Kendricks is taking home first place hardware.

Kendricks tore his way through the final flight on Tuesday evening in London, posting a best vault of 19 feet, 6.25 inches, which makes him the first American vaulter to win the event at the IAAF Championships since 2007, when Brad Walker took gold in Osaka, Japan.

Walker’s win was an interesting one, for he and runner-up Romain Mesnil of France both cleared 5.86 meters, but Walker needed just one jump to Mesnil’s two. That’s called a “countback,” the idea being that whichever vaulter requires fewer attempts should hold the advantage. This is about leaping over the walls of besieged cities, after all.

2007 also saw Reese Hoffa — a Georgia alum — take the shotput over fellow American Adam Nelson.

Here’s video of Kendricks’ winning vault:

Now he just needs to add an Olympic gold medal to his stable.