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Tokyo Bound

LSHS alumni earns his spot on U.S. Olympic pole vault squad

Living the dream. Three words to best describe KC Lightfoot's reality as he earned his spot on the United States Olympic Team. Lightfoot has been a standout pole vaulter since the beginning of his career and continues to improve every time he hits the runway.

Lightfoot started collecting his accomplishments early when he earned two state titles during his tenure at LSHS. Additionally, he was named Missouri Boys Gatorade Track athlete of the year, Spectrum Sports Athlete of the Week, he holds Missouri all-time best and the United States No. 2 jump in high school history.

His impressive high school jump resume landed him a full-ride scholarship at Baylor University where he continued to soar to new heights. As a freshman, Lightfoot broke the indoor pole vault school record that had stood for 28 years with a jump of 18-7.5 and earned the All-American title - unbeknownst to him, his family, and his fans and this was just the beginning. Lightfoot's performances improved consistently through his collegiate seasons and his achievements continued to compile. 

In 2021, Lightfoot put up one of the most dominant UNDEFEATED seasons in NCAA history. Elevating the national record three times and became the first athlete to clear six meters (19-81/4). After Lightfoot closed out his exceptional indoor season as the National Champion, he announced to forego his eligibility at Baylor to conquer yet another lifelong dream, becoming a professional.

"As I looked ahead to the future, in particular, the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo, I was faced with one of those very difficult decisions,” Lightfoot stated about the crossroad of continuing his collegiate career or going professional.

“Taking into consideration many factors for my pole vaulting career I believed the best situation was to be back in my hometown. I am deeply and sincerely appreciative of every opportunity I had at Baylor and I am forever thankful for everyone at Baylor who supported me and encouraged me to be the best I can be.

• 2021 NCAA Indoor National Champion 
• 2021 Indoor All-American 
• 2021 Big 12 Men's Performer of the Year
• 2021 The Bowerman Men's Watch List
• 2021 Big 12 Indoor Champion 
• Indoor Collegiate Record Holder 
• BU Indoor School Record Holder 
• Big 12 Indoor Meet Record Holder 
• 2020 Indoor All-American (pole vault)
• 2020 The Bowerman Men's Pre-NCAA Indoor Watch List
• 2020 Big 12 Indoor Champion
• 2019 Outdoor All-American 
• 2019 Big 12 Outdoor Champion 
• 2019 Indoor All-American 
• 2019 Big 12 Indoor Champion

When and how did you get into Pole Vaulting?

"I got into Pole Vaulting in 7th grade, my dad was a collegiate vaulter as well so one day he asked me to try it.. And here we are now."

What keeps you motivated?

"My family and huge support system."

What are you most looking forward to at the Olympics?

"Going to the Olympics is every young athlete's dream."

Pole Vaulting is a complex sport, can you explain the technique in "simple terms"?

"Simply... Run, Plant, Pull, and hope for the best."

Outside of the track, what are your favorite hobbies? 

"Outside of the track I obviously still love to train to keep myself in good all over shape. I pretty much love to do anything active, backyard sports are played frequently at my parent's house with my siblings. And if you can’t find me there, you will likely find me on the golf course."

We hear you have a unique "pet", what is it? and how did it come about?

I have a “pet” giraffe, his name is Kevin. Kevin still resides at the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco. Long story short, my family made a bet with me that when I cleared the bar as tall as the world's tallest Giraffe, that they would buy a giraffe...