We caught up with American pole vaulter Sandi Morris ahead of the NACAC Championships. Sandi is a silver medallist from both the 2017 World Championships and the 2016 Olympic Games. She won gold at the 2018 World Indoor Championships and silver at the 2016 World Indoors.
Sandi first competed in Canada at the 2014 NACAC under-23 Championships in Kamloops, B.C.
Last weekend in South Carolina she leaped a World Leading mark of 4.95-metres and even took attempts at a World Record height.
Athletics Canada - Coming to Toronto, what are your expectations in terms of excitement and competing in Canada?
Sandi Morris - I’m so excited to compete in Toronto! The journey from home will be short, which helps SO much when it comes to getting acclimated. I’m arriving on Tuesday, which is a bit earlier than most, because my boyfriend and I are celebrating his birthday together & wanted to do it in Toronto! We plan to go out for a nice dinner and explore a bit! It’s always fun to get to really see & enjoy the places I travel to, along with compete.
AC - You jumped 4.95m last weekend in South Carolina, and even made attempts to beat the world-record, how are you feeling going into NACAC and do you think you'll be able to break the record in Toronto, or in the near future?
SM - I had an amazing competition at home! The adrenaline was high and my body felt great, and my performance showed it. Competing anywhere that I don’t have to sit on an airplane for 10 hours is a plus, and coming to Toronto will be an easy journey. I’m sure I’ll feel right at home! I feel like I’m on a roll right now and will jump something big again. My goal is to give myself as many attempts as possible at the world record. It’s so rare to get opportunities to attempt it because usually conditions aren’t great outdoor & it’s hard to time up feeling good, jumping soundly when it comes to technique, AND having great conditions to break a record. Usually if you get ONE of those things during a competition, you’re lucky. If you get all of them, big bars ensue!
It wasn't just the world-leading vault of 4.95m that made @sandicheekspv our moment of the week; it was also her close attempts at a would-be world record height of 5.07m.— IAAF (@iaaforg) July 30, 2018
See the video for yourself: https://t.co/ocLSmDkBXV pic.twitter.com/QMKZNJZhuL
AC - Being able to put on such a performance in your hometown, what would you tell the Canadian athletes competing at home?
SM - The last time I competed in Canada was for U23 NACAC in 2014 in Kamloops! It was a beautiful place, but I’ve heard it’s a bit different from the rest of Canada and I’m looking forward to competing in Toronto and seeing what it’s all about. For those who are Canadian & competing at home, I would say soak it all up! It’s so much fun when you have a home crowd behind you, cheering for you every step of the way. I always feel like I can feel the positive energy from a crowd that wants me to do well. It helps the athletes a lot!
AC - There's a lot of talent coming from all over the Americas, how would you describe the talent level in NACAC?
SM - A lot of the talent coming to compete at NACAC is world class! I’m especially looking forward to jumping with fellow American Katie Nageotte! Both of us being top in the world right now will be a lot of fun. We are a bit of a dynamic duo when we compete against each other because we are competitive but also friends & teammates. I think we (along with the other women competing) will put on a great show!
AC - You're the USATF Indoor National Champion this year, and Alysha Newman, the Commonwealth Games champion, is set to return from her injury, what are your thoughts on the great year that the two of you are having and Newman's return?
SM - I’m so proud of Alysha and all I have watched her accomplish in the last two seasons! We traveled through Europe together quite a bit last year and became good friends. She’s a kind soul and I have high hopes for her return from her knee injury. I think in the long run, having to sit out for a while will probably be good for her. I’ve experienced injuries before where I was forced to sit out for a few weeks, and I have never been more driven than when I’m just coming back from those injuries.
AC - What are you most looking forward to in Canada, on the track but also away from the track?
SM - I’m just really looking forward to competing somewhat “closer to home!” Canada & America feel very similar to me when it comes to culture. Although I love seeing the world, it helps to compete when you feel at home and not like a foreigner. Things like the types of food you eat before competition, how well you sleep, and how comfortable you are all around help performance!
Get your tickets now to watch Sandi in action along with the rest of Team USA, Team Canada and 25 other countries at the 2018 NACAC Track & Field Championships August 10-12.