Track & Field: Something Went Wrong

Pole vaulter Brian Sternberg, 20, always refused to take himself seriously. A sophomore at the University of Washington, Sternberg was genuinely surprised when he was invited to compete at the Penn Relays last April. "They paid $325 for my airplane ticket," he said, "and I don't know how I could be worth that much to anybody." Then he vaulted to a new world record of 16 ft. 5 in. "That record won't last 24 hours," he said, and even when he raised the record to 16 ft. 8 in. last month in...

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