For Immediate Release
Date January 31, 2017
Contact: Katie Damron (208) 220-5307
Olympic Pole-Vaulter Stacy Dragila Gives Back at Simplot Games
Gold Medalist Return to Simplot Games
Pocatello, Idaho – For much of her life, Stacy Dragila has been dedicated to the world of track and field as an elite athlete, but these days her time is spent giving back.
Dragila is an Idaho State University graduate who made her mark on the sport at the 2000 Olympic Games by winning the first ever gold medal in women’s pole vaulting.
“Simplot Games is a fun place for athletes to give back,” said Dragila. “There are so many opportunities during the Games to help any way we can.”
Dragila was born and raised in California, where she was introduced to track and field. But it wasn’t until she was recruited to be on Idaho State University’s team that she tried pole vaulting.
At the time, Dragila was a heptathlete for ISU, and only men competed in pole vaulting. She recalls the day her coach ran across the field and told her and a few of her female teammates that they were going to pole vault.
“We said yes just to appease him,” said Dragila. “And he bribed us with a shorter workout if we agreed.”
That day ultimately changed the course of Dragila’s life. Because of her coach’s enthusiasm and support, she was able to pursue pole vaulting—what she now calls her great adventure.
These days, Dragila’s athletic efforts are directed a little differently. She hosts and attends camps and track and field meets as a mentor. Dragila’s athletic career was greatly shaped by the mentors she had so she has taken on that role herself.
“I got opportu
nities, so I give opportunities,” said Dragila of her involvement with track and field camps. “We want to see our sport thrive!”
Dragila teaches that to get to the next level, athletes have to work hard every day. Another lesson she emphasizes is that every athlete has a chance at greatness.
At her camps, Dragila targets athletes who seem to be sitting on the fence, unsure of their skill.
“I used to think that to reach a high level, you had to be supernatural,” said Dragila. “Through my mentors, I learned that hard work was all it takes.”
Simplot Games is the perfect place for young athletes to realize the importance of hard work, according to Dragila. With top-notch competition, athletes can be exposed to techniques and styles that are unfamiliar
“Simplot Games is the place for athletes to dream deeper,” said Dragila. “It’s where they can look at the competition next to them and think, ‘I can beat that kid!’”
Dragila is the recipient of the Spirit of the Games award for the 2017 Simplot Games. She was selected for the award for her inspiring commitment to teaching and support of young athletes.
“Stacy is always willing and eager to help,” said Lisa Woodland, director of Simplot Games. “She is always teaching and promoting her sport.”
This year, Dragila is looking forward to seeing the competition and being able to meet the young athletes who are just starting their careers. As always, she will be keeping an eye on pole vaulting in particular.
As someone who has attended Simplot Games for many years, Dragila is excited to reconnect with old teammates and friends.
“Simplot Games are a big part of the community,” said Dragila. “Simplot is really like family.”
More than 2,100 athletes will come from across the U.S., Canada, and Australia to participate in the 39th annual Simplot Games. Simplot Games remains the nation’s premier high school indoor track and field event. Sponsored by the J.R. Simplot Company since 1979, the Simplot Games are held at Idaho State University’s Holt Arena in Pocatello, Idaho.
For more information on Simplot Games, please visit our website at www.simplotgames.com. You may also contact Lisa Woodland at (208) 235-5604 or Simplot Games Media Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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