Los Altos Alumni Likely Contender for 2016 Rio Olympics

In setting the new Puerto Rican national records for both the outdoor and indoor pole vaults, Los Altos alumni Diamara Planell Cruz ‘11 has become a likely contender for the 2016 Rio Olympics, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from August 5 to August 21.

On January 18, at the University of Washington Preview, Diamara broke the Puerto Rican national indoor pole vault record with a jump of 4.25 meters (13 feet, 1.25 inches). Two months later, on March 22, she vaulted 4.27 meters (14 feet) at the University of Southern California Trojan Invitational, breaking the Puerto Rican national outdoor pole vault record. Both records had been standing for 10 years, which made her achievements all the more remarkable.

“When I first broke the record I just felt a sense of relief and shock, because it was the first meet of the season and I went from having a personal best of 4.01 to 4.25 [meters],” Diamara said. “I made every jump that day on my first attempt including the record, and it was just an amazing feeling to have it all come together. It made me feel like this whole goal for 2016 was really not out of the question.”

Having trained for the pole vault for six years, and been a competitive athlete for much longer, Cruz has learned lessons about both her sport and character that she carries with her in her professional career.

“I am clear on what things work and what don’t, what I need to work on as an individual rather than just in general,” Diamara said. “I learn my strengths and weaknesses and everyday you just learn a little more about the event and what you need to do to take it to the next level.”

Over the years of training, Diamara has been progressing to her ultimate goal: participating in the 2016 Rio Olympics. She has grown both physically and mentally, and as shown by this season’s performances and her breaking of both the Puerto Rican records, she is focused on improving and determined to accomplish her goal of reaching the Olympics.

“At the end of the day what makes that moment so special is everything you did, everything you went though to get there,” Diamara said. “So when I get my chance to be at something as big as the Olympics I believe that I will be as ready as I can possibly be…when the day does come I [will] be a competitor like every other athlete there.”