Olympic Games lifting weights gymnastics gold medal Baghdad Olympics Europe
Mark Hollis moved to Knoxville last year to work on pole vaulting.
Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
00:00 Well he has to NA -- a national championships and
00:03 won an outdoor title in 2010. And an indoor championship in
00:07 2011 but -- pollster mark Hollis is aiming higher. And his
00:11 goal of making the Olympics brought into Knoxville. Stereo. And I
00:18 don't just. Pick up a -- and -- eighteen the first
00:22 day or something you know something that's yet to learn and
00:24 it takes years. Mark Hollis trains almost every day whether it's
00:29 lifting weights gymnastics. Or practicing it Tom black track. When he
00:36 came in fifth at the last Olympic trials mark knew something
00:39 had to change. That was after that that would really started
00:42 looking into Baghdad on any serious in this and really. Really
00:46 continue my sport you have continued and to go after this
00:49 dream then I need to find a coach and make a
00:52 move. Mark and his wife Amanda took a leap of faith
00:56 last march moving to Knoxville without jobs. But the lure of
01:00 a gold medal winning coach told the men. -- history nearly
01:03 got a little. Two quick and it but it's fast and
01:08 thought we were they care about Tim Mack won gold in
01:10 2004. And now we usually group here in Knoxville. Compared to
01:15 a lot of coaches always kind of work on one thing
01:18 and any kind of jump to another thing and work on
01:20 that for awhile or something like that tennis different Hillary. Really
01:24 build a base of a strong jumping in to fill the
01:27 fundamentals. After a year the results are showing. I figured he
01:31 had to get in five metre eighty. Rangers in nineteen feet
01:35 and then he did that flew back a couple undergoing a
01:38 grip right. Last month Smart competed in six meet in Europe
01:42 over two and a half weeks. If you'd asked me --
01:45 for the means. House in -- I'd probably go to ranked
01:48 them somehow lowest you know and come out and and to
01:51 jump. I would never have three times zero is pretty pretty
01:55 awesome. He's now jumped to nineteen feet and seven eighths. The
01:59 world record by the way is around twenty feet two inches.
02:03 Right now isn't a good spot and I think he can
02:04 go even higher -- so far better. For two years from
02:07 now -- people don't realize we're training to set ourselves up
02:11 for Olympic Games in two years now that you know have
02:13 some success and seen what. Was just one year being here
02:17 in this environment in Knoxville news. You know what we can
02:20 -- in the two years leading up to the real games.
02:24 -- -- Now there's not a lot of competition going on
02:27 in the states right now so he's actually over in Europe
02:29 and he won -- meet last Friday he's got another one
02:31 tomorrow sounds really cool story really is and I just a
02:34 marvel I -- -- I -- never get them to be
02:37 done right.
It's not a sport you're naturally good at.
"You know you don't just pick up a pole and jump 18 feet your first day. It's something you have to learn and it takes years."
Mark Hollis trains almost every day, whether it's lifting weights, gymnastics or practicing at Tom Black Track at the University of Tennessee.
Hollis came in fifth at the last Olympic trials.
"It was after that, that we really said, ok if I want to be really serious in this and really continue my sport and continue to go after this dream, then I need to find a coach and make a move," explained Hollis.
Mark and his wife Amanda, who is a teacher, moved to Knoxville in June of 2013. That gave Mark the chance to work with Olympic gold medalist, Tim Mack.
"Compared to a lot of other coaches where you kind of work on one thing and then jump to another thing and work on that for a while or something like that, Tim's different where we really build a base of a strong jump and just build the fundamentals," said Hollis.
His leap of faith is paying off.
"I figured he had to get in the 5 meter 80 range, which is 19 feet and he did that," said Tim Mack.
In July, Hollis competed in six meets in Europe over a two-and-a-half week period.
"If you'd ask me before, I probably would have ranked them some of my lowest," said Hollis. "To come out and jump higher than I ever have three times in a row was pretty awesome."
Mark's personal best right now is 19 feet, 7/8. The world record is around 20 feet, 2 inches.
"Right now he's in a good spot and I think he can go even higher and set himself up better for two years from now and that's what people don't realize," said Mack. "We're training to set ourselves up for the Olympic Games in two years."
"Now that I've had some success and seen what just one year being here in this environment, in Knoxville, can do, what we can do in the two years leading up to the real games," said Hollis.