Spoiler alert: Charlotte Brown did not win the state pole vaulting championship over the weekend. The sophomore at Emory Rains High School, 70 miles east of here, cleared 10'6" on Saturday, putting her eighth out of nine contestants and more than two feet shy of victory.
Still, her performance was pretty impressive. Brown's legally blind. She was born with normal vision but developed infant cataracts and has been losing her vision ever since. She compares her vision to peering through a coffee stirrer, only everything on the other end is blurry, flat, and devoid of color.
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And yet she loves, and is really, incredibly good at, pole vaulting. "For a few seconds, nothing is wrong in the world, and nothing else matters," she told The New York Times, which profiled her on Friday.
Texas Country Reporter, whose 2012 report you can watch below, explains how she does it. Basically, she plants a tennis ball, dolled up with hair and lipstick and nicknamed Yolana, next to the track. This lets her know where to stand. Then she runs down the track, plants her fiberglass pole, and launches herself a dozen feet into the air. Simple, really.