Sport: The Goose Flies High

Sizing up prospects for the Olympics in Rome next August, nearly everyone agrees that the U.S. has the world's best pole vaulters—and that the highest-flying U.S. vaulters are Veterans Bob Gutowski, 24, who holds the outdoor record of 15 ft. 8½ in., and Don Bragg, 24, who claims the indoor record of 15 ft. 9½ in. But last week in Norman, Okla., a relative unknown vaulted as high as anyone else in track history: John David Martin, 20, a University of Oklahoma junior, cleared the bar at 15 ft. 9¼ in.

A strapping (6 ft. 4 in.) Oklahoma farm boy with huge...

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