Aug. 29, 2005
MONACO - On the heels of a silver medal at this month's World Track and Field Championships, former Husky pole vaulter Brad Walker moved up four spots to No. 1 in last week's release of the 2005 IAAF World Rankings, becoming the first Husky in the history of the rankings to earn the international organization's top billing.
Using published scoring tables, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) ranks the world's elite athletes based on a combination of marks achieved, and places in major competitions. Walker's score of 1,347 points in the Aug. 23 ranking well outdistanced the 1,306 points of No. 2 vaulter Tim Lobinger of Germany, and was the 22nd-highest total of any male athlete in the world, regardless of event.
In just his first full professional season since graduating from Washington in 2004, Walker has taken the vault world by storm, winning American pole vault titles indoors and outdoors, and capturing a silver medal in the event at the IAAF World Championships in Helsinki, Finland earlier this month.
On Sunday, Walker won his second-straight competition since taking silver at the Worlds with a clearance of 19 feet, 6 ¾ inches at the IAAF Grand Prix Rieti in Italy, breaking a 13-year-old meet record set by world-record holder Sergey Bubka in 1992 . Walker's clearance -- a two-inch personal best -- equaled the sixth-best ever by an American male vaulter, and is tied for 15th in the world all-time.
"Brad's just jumping amazing right now," said Washington assistant coach Pat Licari, who continues to train Walker at the Huskies' Dempsey Indoor facility on the UW campus. "At the rate he's going, he's going to hit six meters by the end of the year. With his age and talent, he has a chance to do things no one in this sport has ever done."
Should Walker clear six meters -- 19 feet, 8 ¼ inches -- he would become just the 12th vaulter. and the fourth American, ever to achieve the mark. Jeff Hartwig holds the American record at 6.03 meters (19-9 ½), while Bubka boasts the world's best mark of 6.14 meters (20-1 ¾)."
"6.16 [meters -- 20 feet, 2 ½ inches] is a personal goal of every pole vaulter," Walker said following his world championship success. "That is what my focus will be for the next couple of years."
-- Brian Beaky Asst. Dir., Media Relations Univ. of Washington Box 354070 229 Graves Building Seattle, WA 98195-4070 (206) 543-2331 office / (206) 227-5709 cell www.gohuskies.com