Q&A WITH… SARAH VOGEL

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Country: Germany

Profession: Athlete – Pole Vault

Career highlights:

  • 2021 European U20 Championships – gold medallist
  • 2021 Deutsche Sporthilfe Junior Sportswoman of the Year
  • 2019 European Youth Olympic Festival gold medallist
  • 2018 European U-18 Championships finalist – 4th

Congratulations on your European U20 Championship gold medal, can you describe for us what it felt like the moment you cleared the bar?

Before I started the run-up, I had been super determined to give my very best and to fight for that height. I did not really think about what I was doing but just relied on my body and that it would know what to do after hundreds of repetitions in practice. The moment I cleared the bar at 4.30m, I could not believe that this was really happening. When I fell back down onto the mat, seeing the bar still up there, I realized that I actually had not really expected that I would be able to clear this height and that I had grown beyond myself. I did not know this was the gold-medal jump at that point because there was another competitor left in the competition. However, it felt different to the other bars I had cleared that day and I had a super strong feeling, which told me this might be enough!

What made you fall in love with pole vault?

As a little child at the age of 4 or 5 I saw pole vault on TV and was simply fascinated by the pole bending and afterwards catapulting athletes towards the sky. Now, knowing much more about poles and the whole movement, I am still obsessed with the symbiosis of pole and athlete, the alternating interaction of controlling the pole‘s movement and listening to its feedback and the fact that strong forces end up in beautiful harmony. In addition to that, I really like that there is no one way of vaulting but it is rather, every athlete brings different abilities to it and has to find an individual style to meet common technical standards. Hence there is a lot of personality in every jump.

Could you describe one of your favourite training sessions?

My favourite sessions are obviously vaulting sessions. In particular I like those from a middle-distance run-up clearing a bungee instead of a bar. These sessions allow one to work on technique precisely because the movement is a little slower than in competition which makes it easier to keep control, but at the same time, the general feeling of pole vaulting and symbiosis with the pole are nevertheless still there.

Biochemistry is an interesting field of study, what was it about the subject that made you want to take it at university?

The world consists of extremely small particles like atoms and molecules, which form all matter including organisms on a range from one cell-sized bacteria up to huge animals and trees and lead to what we call life and consciousness. This requires a perfect interaction of microscopic components and an extremely high level of control. Therefore, it seems like the processes might be directed, but molecules do not “know“ what to do. On the contrary, every process in a human body is based on random movements of atoms, which tend to an energetic minimum. My curiosity about understanding the background of life, especially proteins causing diseases, made me study Biochemistry at university.

After a long week of training, what is the meal you most love to eat?

I fancy pasta with salmon.

What are you afraid of?

My biggest fear is losing my identity, my own opinion and own will and becoming influenced by people, society, circumstances or just not listening to my inner voice.

Secondly – this might sound super strange – I am afraid of height. It does not affect me during pole vaulting, but I am super afraid of doing exercises at the high bar or standing at the top of high buildings!

Quick fire questions:

Texting or talking?

Talking

Invisibility or Super Strength?

Invisibility

Sunrise or Sunset?

Sunset

Pizza or Burger?

Pizza

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