Sam Kendricks, a former Ole Miss track and field star, stopped dead in the middle of a pole vault attempt to honor his country Sunday.
Kendricks, a U.S. Army Reserve 2nd Lt., heard the U.S. national anthem begin as he began his run. He immediately dropped his pole, found the American flag and stood at attention until the anthem finished.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) August 21, 2016
It was the qualifying round of the men’s pole vault, in which Kendricks eventually won bronze. He became the first American to medal in the event since Timothy Mack won gold in 2004.
“I’m glad I have something tangible to bring home and show for it,” Kendricks told USA Today. “I know that everybody in Oxford will love to see it. But the journey, like my coach says, is the goal. Not necessarily the medals.”
Kendricks is one of 18 U.S. athletes who competed at the games who also served in the military. He won the NCAA Championship in the pole vault in 2013 and 2014.