Jenn Suhr "still has the fire", ready to pole vault again

Olympic pole vaulter Jenn Suhr spoke publicly Tuesday for the first time since she became ill at the 2016 Rio Olympics. (WHAM photo)

Chili, N.Y. (WHAM) - Olympic pole vaulter Jenn Suhr spoke publicly Tuesday for the first time since she became ill at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Suhr, joined by her husband Rick, talked about how hard it was for her to work so hard for four years, only to have it slip away through something out of her control.

At the news conference at Roberts Wesleyan College, Jenn said she did not yet have all of the medical answers as to what may have caused the issue that prevented her from being at her best.

Rick told reporters Tuesday that doctors put her on an inhaler, antibiotics, but is not contagious.

Jenn became sick just two weeks before the Olympic Games and continued to lose weight and strength as the competition went on. She made it to the final round of vaulting, but was not all in it.

"To be in the Olympic finals, there's some sort of adrenaline you should have," Jenn said. "Some sort of nervous energy and I was so completely exhausted, I didn't feel anything."

Jenn ended up placing 7th overall in the finals. She said it was emotional watching her shot at another gold medal pass her by.

"Everyone kept asking, 'How are you?' And I kept saying, 'I'm fine, I'm fine' because the amount of work that went into this and just watch it for someone else, that was hard," Jenn added.

"I didn't lose a sporting event here. This is my entire career and that's what's hard. Now you have to rebuild after that."

Even after she returned home from Brazil, Jenn still battled the illness that wracked her body while in South America.

Suhr added she still has the fire to compete and will jump in an exhibition October 1 at SUNY Fredonia.

Her sights are set on the World Championships; she added that she will not discount the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

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