Athlete Focus | Owen Heard - Commonwealth Games 2022 Pole Vault
The wait is finally over... our interview with Owen Heard is finally here!
Currently 3rd in the UK pole vault rankings, Owen has been competing as a pole vaulter for many years and took his vaulting journey to another level when he competed at the Commonwealth Games this year for Team England. He competed alongside teammates Harry Coppell and Adam Hague, clearing 5.25 in the final.
He is also a 110m hurdler and a Team Pacer athlete. Considering Owen is only 20 years old, he has accomplished a fair deal for his age. And now... he is also a part of our blog team!
Over the next few months, we will receive a wide range of content from Owen, where he will be talking about various topics to help other budding pole vaulters progress in their own journeys!
But first... we thought it would be great for you all to get to know Owen a little better before we go any further!
In our quick interview with Owen, he tells us about his experiences in the Commonwealth Games, how he started in pole vault and what his relationship with Team Pacer is like... amongst other things!
Watch the interview by checking out the video below. Alternatively, you can read on to find a transcript instead.
INTERVIEW WITH OWEN HEARD: COMMONWEALTH GAMES 2022 POLE VAULT FINALIST
HOW DID YOU REACT WHEN YOU FOUND OUT YOU WOULD BE COMPETING AT THE COMMONWEALTH GAMES THIS YEAR?
When I got the phone call to say that I’d made the team, I was buzzing!
It meant everything to me. I spent the last few years struggling mentally with pole vault and with not performing to my potential. I almost gave up very recently… but I gave it one last push this season.
Suddenly, I managed to get on the Commonwealth team, which came out of nowhere for me. I was over the moon!
For preparing, I was dealing with a bit of an injury on the side of my knee. My training volume was a bit down on usual, but I’ve had lots of physio and I’ve been managing that. I was playing it safe in the whole build up.
Mentally, I was trying to keep the same momentum I’ve had in the early part of the season and carry that on through to the games, which I think worked well!
WHAT WERE YOUR HIGHLIGHTS FROM COMPETING AT THE COMMONWEALTH GAMES?
The biggest highlight for me was the noise!
When I stepped into that stadium and I did my first attempt, the home crowd was literally screaming, which was insane. It gave me this different energy which I’ve never had before.
I’m always going to remember that!
DID THE COMMONWEALTH GAMES TEACH YOU ANYTHING?
The biggest thing that the games taught me, because it’s the highest level of competition I’ve ever been in, is just to relax and enjoy myself, because it’s the same as any other competition.
You’re just against bigger and better people and there's a bigger crowd, too. But at the end of the day, you’re still doing the same sport.
You’ve always got to just enjoy it and take it in, and that’s the biggest thing I learnt.
HOW SIGNIFICANT ARE TEAM PACER TO YOUR POLE VAULTING JOURNEY?
I’ve been pole vaulting for years now, and I’ve pretty much always used Pacer Poles.
I’ve tried other poles here and there. But for me personally, these work the best for me. Being a part of Team Pacer has definitely helped a lot, because I now have access to a whole range of poles that I can use.
They’re just the best suited poles for me and it’s really helpful being partnered with them. And I love the poles so yeah, it’s great!
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO PURSUE POLE VAULT GROWING UP?
So I came from gymnastics when I was younger… but I was always pretty fast and I always wanted to do athletics.
Pole vault ended up being the sport where you need both speed and gymnastic ability, so it just worked well for me!
YOU ARE ALSO A HURDLER. HOW DO YOU SEPARATE THE TWO IN COMPETITIONS AND TRAINING?
For managing both events… when I was younger, sometimes I’d need to compete in pole vault and then I’d have to disappear quickly, do my hurdles race and then come back and continue with my pole vaulting.
But, as I’ve gotten older, the senior height hurdles are pretty high, so I’ve had to tone down the hurdles a little bit, because I’m not as good at that as I am with pole vault now.
But, all the way through my junior years, I’ve always done both hurdles and pole vault. And I pretty much had an equal split of them in training. Sometimes, I’d even do some pole vault and then hop over a few hurdles at the end of the session.
But yeah… they’ve definitely complemented each other well the whole time I’ve been doing them. And I still keep doing a little bit of hurdles training now. So yeah, that’s the way I manage it.
AND FINALLY... WHAT'S NEXT FOR OWEN HEARD?
There’s definitely more in the tank!
I’ve just had a breakthrough this season, so I’m hoping that there’s more to come. But yeah… there’s longer run ups waiting for me to go on to, and I’m just going to keep my head down, keep working… and then we’ll see what happens!
We were really grateful for Owen taking the time to talk to us, and we can't wait to see what content he has in store for us over the coming months!
To keep up to date, follow our social media channels, where we will post updates whenever we have any new content for you all to see!
PACER VAULT POLES AT NEUFF ATHLETIC!
At the moment, we stock Pacer One and FXV poles, both of which are superior choices for vaulting and are loved by athletes worldwide, including Owen!
To see what's available, click here!