Jonesboro-based Olympic pole vaulter relies on preparation, prayer

Jonesboro-based Olympic pole vaulter relies on preparation, prayer


By Amy Forbus, Editor (from Arkansas Conference,

Jeremy Scott finds a seat in the back row when he attends the contemporary worship service at First United Methodist Church Jonesboro. He doesn’t want his 6-foot, 9-inch frame to block anyone’s view.

PHOTO COURTESY ROBERT BLACKBut at the Summer Olympics, the pole vaulter would like to get a little taller. He wants to have the medal stand giving him a boost.

“I really believe I have the opportunity to go and do something great, and we’re not going to be satisfied until it’s all said and done,” he said in a July 9 interview.

“He’s just jumping so well,” says Jeremy’s wife, Sarah Scott. “He just needs to be healthy enough to do it.”

Since he qualified on June 28 for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team, the 31-year-old athlete has spent much of his time away from Jonesboro, where he has lived since 2006 so he could have Olympic pole vaulter Earl Bell as his coach. About three years ago, the family found a spiritual home at First UMC Jonesboro, when a co-worker of Sarah’s suggested they attend.

“We found that we really fit in,” Sarah Scott says. “Other people were really welcoming, really supportive of my career, Jeremy’s career, of our whole family. Our son was baptized there…. It’s a good home for us.”

Recently, support from the church has included helping cover the expense of sending Jeremy’s coach and extended family to see him compete in London.

Jeremy spent most of July at San Diego’s Olympic Training Center, focusing on getting an injured knee into good enough shape for the running involved in the sport.

He calls making the team “an absolute miracle.

“I’ve been dealing with some injuries from last year, and I just haven’t been able to train like I wanted to, haven’t been able to compete,” he said. “The Olympic trials really were my first competition this outdoor season. I had one or two that I tried to do, but I was really banged up and they didn’t go very well.”

He says his training with Bell has him at peak technical efficiency for his pole vaulting. The work in San Diego deals primarily with strengthening his knee.

“If I can get to running more how I have—and they really believe I can do that here in the next four weeks—that when you match that up to the technical efficiency that I’m showing, I really believe that I have a good shot to get on the medal stand,” he says. “I still think God has more in store for me here, and we’ve got victories to taste yet.”

Because London is six hours ahead of the Central time zone, much of Arkansas will still be in bed for the first round of the Aug. 8 pole vault competition—it’s at 4 a.m. Central time. But the finals are scheduled for Aug. 10 at 1 p.m. Central.

Jeremy Scott says his father has been doing a lot of praying for him, and so have others. He welcomes the prayerful support.

“I think everybody’s prayers, my own prayers [have helped],” he said. “It’s proof that God can do pretty amazing things with pretty feeble bodies.

“I’m just going to keep asking for those prayers.”

Photo courtesy Robert Black Photography