After graduating from the University of Arkansas this spring, pole vaulter Sandi Morris has exploded onto the international track and field scene, bringing with her a positive energy and quirkiness that are almost as unparalleled as her vaulting ability.
One of Nike’s newest sponsored athletes, the 23-year-old Morris placed fourth at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing and is currently training for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Still, the pole vault star finds time for her passions outside of the arena, which include broadcast journalism, songwriting, art, and her stable of exotic pet snakes.
We sat down with Morris to discuss her goals, how she handles stress, and her plans for the future.
How do you balance grinding it out day-in and day-out, while keeping longer-term goals in mind?”
“You have to think of each day as a baby step. If you’re constantly thinking about the Olympics at the end of the year, you’re going to overwhelm yourself. So really, you just have to make sure you’re doing everyday things that are going to make a difference in the long run. You want to keep that big goal in the back of your mind, but you have to have small goals before you can reach it.”
Do you have any favorite must-have gear?
As an athlete, there is a short timespan that you are going to perform at the level that you do. What are your aspirations for the rest of your career?
“I can definitely see myself as a track and field coach and pole vault coach, but I also majored in broadcast journalism. I really love anything in the realm of sports journalism. I would absolutely love a job in the news world.”
Outside of your sport, what do you enjoy and do for fun?
“I have lots of plants and animals. I also have lots of weird hobbies! Track and field is awesome, but it can be really stressful, and it’s really good to have other outlets for creativity and energy. I like to remember that I’m not just a pole vaulter. I have a sister, I have a daughter, I like to paint and draw, and I play guitar. My goal is to involve myself in as many goals as I can so that I stay a whole person. You don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket. Yes, you want to excel in something great that you love, but it’s really important to remember that you’re not just one thing.”
Do you have any advice for women who are just starting their fitness journeys?
“Remember that when you step outside of your comfort zone, and you’re trying to get better at some new realm of life, the rewards spread into other things. If you step out of your comfort zone and go run that marathon, getting across the finish line will make you more confident as a person. You won’t just think, ‘Okay, maybe I’m somewhat athletic.’ It’ll help you be more confident as a person as a whole.”