Meet the 79-year-old pole vaulter

Credit: WFAA

Flo Meiler, 78, is competing in multiple events at the National Senior Games.

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by TED MADDEN

WFAA

Posted on July 12, 2013 at 1:08 PM

The National Senior Games is an Olympic-style event for seniors, and Flo Meiler is the sports' Jackie Joyner-Kersee. I asked her to list all of her events.

"One-hundred meter, the 200 meter, the shot put, the discus, the high jump, the long jump, the triple jump, the hammer, the  pole vault."

Yes, she said, pole vault. Meiler is 79 years old and has competed in the Senior Games 12 times, and will again later this month in Cleveland. Not many women her age compete athletically, but not many have biceps like she does, which she flexed for us during our interview.

Meiler didn't start pole vaulting until she was 65 years old. She saw a couple of ladies doing it and decided she could go higher. She bought an instructional video and taught herself for a year and a half before getting a private coach.

Her jumps aren't all that high; she clears about five feet. But remember, this is a 79-year-old great grandmother.

We talked with Grapevine track and field coach Carl Anderson, who had the 4th best pole vaulter at the state meet, Zoe McKinley. She cleared 13 feet. Anderson said that it takes more than just athletic ability to pole vault.

"They have to be a little unique. They have to have speed, strength, stamina.

"But they also have to have a little bit up here to go over that bar," said Anderson pointing at his head.

"I have a lot of seniors who come up to me and tell me who I have inspired them to get off the couch," said Meiler. "And it doesn't mean they should do what I do."

Nor should they, at least not the pole vault.

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