The past two weeks have given rise to incredible patriotism in homes and bars around the country thanks to the Olympics, but nobody here in the states has shown as much patriotism as much as Army Second Lieutenant and Olympic pole vaulter Sam Kendricks. Kendricks, competing in his first Olympics, was filmed skidding to a stop in a preliminary round on one of his attempts upon hearing the national anthem being played so he could stand at attention.
There’s patriotism, and there’s sacrifice on the level of becoming an Army reservist, and then there’s Sam Kendricks waaaaaaaaay down at the other end. This is the Olympics, you’re allowed to focus on yourself for just a bit. Especially during the moment when you’ve trained years for.
Kendricks, however, doesn’t see the difference and clearly feels respect for one’s country should always come before sports. The best part is, this broken off attempt clearly didn’t hurt him, both literally (it didn’t count against him as it was a practice attempt) and figuratively, as he advanced through the preliminary round and wound up winning a bronze medal in the finals.
The former NCAA two-time champion in the pole vault earned another accolade for his trophy case, and can go home knowing he also made some noise as a reminder of the participants who are currently or have served in the military (19 total, according to USA Today.) Congratulations, Second Lieutenant, we’re sure your fellow reservists back home can’t wait to celebrate with you.