Date: 12 Apr 2014

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Pole Vault Star Steve Hooker Retires

Australia’s greatest ever pole vaulter Steve Hooker has called time on his outstanding athletics career and announced his retirement this Saturday.

Now 31, Hooker won three global titles during his time at the top; gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games, 2009 IAAF World Championships and 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships. Steve also won the 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Hooker holds the Oceania Area and Australian pole vault record with 6.06m, a height he cleared indoors in Boston in 2009. He had five competitions at 6.00m or higher!

“I think this decision began last year on my birthday when I was doing a vault session that didn’t go well. I had a long chat with my coach Dan (Pfaff) and he gave me the freedom to take a break and assess whether it was something I wanted to continue. I came back to Australia and have been fortunate enough to be involved with a lot of things that have brought me great enjoyment and in many ways I haven’t had an urge to go back to vaulting.

“This made it clear that I needed to decide what the future would be, and after some serious thought I’ve decided to move onto the next phase of my life and focus on new things that bring me as much joy as athletics has for the past 15 or so years.”

“I think in a lot of ways I have been holding out for a happy ending to my jumping that delivered a great result to finish on. I have come to terms with the fact that this perhaps wasn’t possible,” Hooker said.

“I now know that it is humbling to finish under circumstances that perhaps weren’t expected rather than on a massive high. It is more symbolic of my battles as an athlete across the years, because it has been a challenge at times and it was the difficulty and unpredictability of the pole vault that initially drew me to it.”

Hooker has now established a base for his young family in Melbourne, as a new father to son Maxim and husband to fellow athlete and middle-distance runner Ekaterina Kostetskaya.

“Family is my biggest priority now. Being a husband and a father is amazing, and I love the change from being an individual athlete with just me to worry about,” he added.

“I can now spend time supporting Katya in achieving what she wants in her career. She has done so much already but she has results that suggest she is more than capable of doing more and I want to be able to assist as much as I can in making that happen.”

“I have a passion for developing athletes and I want to make sure that I stay involved with the sport to ensure that as many young athletes as possible are afforded the chance to reach their potential. I have learnt a lot in my time and I want to share that with those that are trying to emulate what I have. My experiences have been immense and I think it is vital that those athletes finishing up share that knowledge with those coming through.”

Recognising that his success cannot be attributed to one single person, Hooker offered the following as thanks to those that made him on of the most successful in the history of Australian athletics.

“Firstly thank you to my coaches Mark Stewart, Alex Parnov and Dan Pfaff. A pole-vaulter is only as good as their coach and I am extremely lucky to have learned from three of the best in the world. Thank you also to the staff of the Victorian Institute of Sport, the Western Australian Institute of Sport and the World Athletics Centre for all your help over the years,” Hooker said.

“Thank you to the Staff and Officials of Athletics Australia, Athletics Victoria and Athletics Western Australia, and thank you to the medical staff that have helped me through my various injuries.”

“I thank my management – Mark Jones from The Sports Group, Maurie Plant, Steffen Keil from Aurum Sports Group and Dave Culbert from Jump Media – and all the sponsors that have supported me to be a professional athlete over the years. I never thought that I could make a living by jumping over a bar and I have enjoyed the privilege of it immensely.”

“Thank you to my Australian Flame teammates for your support and friendship as well as the inspiration you all provide through your great performances. Thank you to my family and friends that have helped me to get through the highs and lows of elite sport.”

“Lastly thank you to all the pole-vaulters that I have trained with and competed against. It is a strange activity and we have created a truly great community around it.”

 

Click here – “Steve Hooker Compilation – Best Of”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tvh1hlYz7Y

 

Steve became a close friend over the last couple of years and We from Aurum Sports Group wish Steve all the best for his post-athletics career!

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