Meet “Flo” Meiler, an 84-Year-Old Pole Vaulter
Florence “Flo” Meiler continues to amaze people as she pole-vaults, long-jumps, and hurdles her way into international competitions. Back in mid-March, the 84-year-old Vermont native was busy training for the World Masters Athletics Championship Indoor competition held in Poland.
When speaking about competing, Meiler said, “You really have to work at that. You have to have the upper core and you have to have timing, and I just love it because it’s challenging.”
She now trains five to six days a week. Besides pole-vaulting, her events at the competition in Poland also include the triple jump, an 800-meter run, a pentathlon, and a 4-by-200 relay.
She now trains five to six days a week.
Meiler’s desire is to continue to compete and set records, and to be an inspiration to other seniors. She credits staying active with the ability to weather some tough times. She and her husband Eugene have walked though infant loss, the death of their 3-year-old child, and the premature death of an adopted son.
She credits staying active with the ability to weather some tough times.
Meiler was involved in sports throughout her growing up years. She played basketball and took dance lessons. After meeting her husband, the two competed in water skiing events together. Though always active, Meiler did not discover her love of pole-vaulting until she was in her mid-60s and a tennis friend encouraged her to try it. Four years ago, at the age of 80, she set a record when she successfully completed a six-foot pole-vault at a national championship in New York.
Meiler is currently hoping to find another training partner because her friend is no longer able to go to the gym with her. As much as she likes competing, she doesn’t really enjoy working out and training by herself.
Emmaline Berg, Meiler’s coach at the training facility, says of Meiler,
“She’s incredibly serious about what she does. She comes in early to make sure she’s warmed up enough. She goes home and stretches a lot. So she pretty much structures her entire life around being a fantastic athlete, which is remarkable at any age, let alone hers.”
Meiler’s love of the pole-vault and her joyful outlook is clearly seen as she falls to the mat after a jump with a tremendous smile on her face. And it doesn’t seem like that smile and those jumps will stop anytime soon.