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Nilsen, Lightfoot both make U.S. Olympic Team in pole vault

US Track Trials Athletics
US Track Trials Athletics
Posted at 7:39 PM, Jun 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-22 10:58:30-04

EUGENE, Ore. — Kansas City is the current pole vaulting capital of America and maybe, soon, the world.

Two of the three pole vaulters the United States will send to the Olympics are from the KC area: Park Hill's Chris Nilsen and Lee's Summit's KC Lightfoot.

They're both off to Tokyo after qualifying Monday in Eugene, Oregon at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

Nilsen won the event, ending the reign of six-time U.S. champion Sam Kendricks. Nilsen won the event without missing an attempt through 5.90 meters.

Lightfoot finished in a tie for second with Kendricks. Both cleared 5.85 meters.

The lone competitor left, Nilsen set his sites on pole vaulting's holy height of 6 meters. He failed to clear the bar in three attempts, but will be one of the favorites - along with the other two Americans - in Tokyo at the Olympics.

Nilsen is a graduate of South Dakota.

Lightfoot ended his career at Baylor earlier this year to pursue his Olympic dreams.