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    Women can’t pole vault—can they?

    Stacy Dragila was fascinated by the thought of soaring up in the air at the end of a pole.  As a 21-year-old student at Idaho State University in 1992, she watched with envy the performance of male pole vaulters. She decided to try it, with the help of one of the male performers. “I asked him if I could try it one day at practice,” she later told the New York Times (August 20,2000). “He just looked at me and said: ‘Women can’t do that. They just don’t have the upper body strength. They are not made to do it.’ I took it to heart that, O.K., this is one of those things that women just don’t do.”

    At the urging of her coach, however, Dragila reconsidered the following year. She went on to set a world record at 15 feet 2-1/4 inches and won gold at the first Olympic competition for women’s pole vault at Sydney, Australia in September 2000. Before retiring from active competition following the 2009 World Championships in Athens, Dragila won four Olympic gold medals and one silver.

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