Jim Jones, a 24-year-old pothole vaulter, became the first gold medalist from New Orleans this millennium when he won Olympic gold in the men’s pole vault, clearing the equivalent of the Canal Street sinkhole, a new world record.
“I’ve been training for this my entire life,” said Jones, who hails from Lakeview and first began hopping holes when he was three.
Growing up on the cratered streets of New Orleans, Jones decisively took the gold and credits his first pets with sparking the discovery of his talent.
“When I was little we lost three dogs to potholes. They just fell right in—never saw them again. I made a promise right then and there that I wasn’t going to let that happen to me. So, I grabbed a tree branch, began hopping holes, and the rest is gold medal history. It’s surreal.”
Olympic officials, stunned by the historic display of athleticism, admittedly couldn’t believe what they saw.
“I don’t know what they’re putting in the water in New Orleans, but we might have to start testing it,” said one vaulting judge who declined to be identified.