Nilsen and Miles trying to downplay the big stage of the Olympics

Chris Nilsen mentally preparing for Olympic stage
Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 11:37 PM CDT
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VERMILLION, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Olympic pole vaulter Chris Nilsen is back in Vermillion for another week and a half to train for his trip to Japan. And he will be under the tutelage of the guy who’s helped get him this far in Coyotes coach Derek Miles who has 3 trips to the Olympics under his belt for experience.

While Derek is there to help out as much as possible and in Tokyo as well, it’s still going to be a learning experience for Chris who’s trying to downplay the magnitude of the event as much as possible.

Chris Nilsen, Olympic pole vaulter says, ”I think nervousness can be a good or a bad thing if you have too much of it or too little of it so I think that going into the Olympics we’re just going to try to focus on it as just a normal meet, as if we were just out here at the University of South Dakota pole vaulting a little bit and not really worrying about the stakes.”

His USD coach Derek Miles, a 3-time Olympian says, ”Right now he’s ready to go. He’s jumping well, he’s running well. But if I’m there it’s a little like we’re out here at practice and it’s just another say. It’s not stressful, it’s not the Olympics, it’s just he and I working on a problem to get over a bar. Hopefully if I have a calming perspective to him and can keep him in that nice spot, competing spot, then he’ll free himself up to do what he’s capable of doing. That’s the goal, but it’s the Olympics and sometimes it gets to you. Things just kind of seep in and you do things that you wouldn’t normally do and have tough days. But that’s pole vaulting, that’s part of the joy of pole vaulting. It’s part of the joy of being young.”

The guys will leave on July 24th and the prelims are a week later with the finals the following Tuesday, August 3rd. Chris is certainly in a great position to win a medal with how well he’s been jumping. Don’t forget to watch our Olympic Zone coverage on KDLT at 6:30 throughout the games where we’ll more from Chris and Derek.

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