Ark. Olympic pole vaulter finds balance in life with reptile hobby

Japan 2020

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KARK)- Four years ago, Sandi Morris pole vaulted her way to a silver medal at the Rio Olympic games.

In 2020, she’s on a quest for gold, but she’s doing more than training on her way to the U.S. Olympic Trials in June.

Running, stretching and jumping- this is what you expect from an Olympic medal hopeful.

It was a silver in Rio four years ago, but now American pole vaulter Sandi Morris has her sights set higher.

“Now I am a veteran, there’s a little pressure,” says Morris. “I have more eyeballs on me.”

But Sandi has a small secret to sidestep stress.

When she’s at home, Sandi is more than a world-class athlete, she’s more like a zookeeper.

“I have a fascination with reptiles specifically,” Morris says.

From dogs to birds, to geckos, to skinks to plenty of snakes.

“My animals are definitely my escape from my busy, busy life and my stressful life,” says Morris.

These slithering companions have been a passion for years.

Sandi is a newlywed, but her husband is away at school in Texas, which makes for another key reptile role for the occupants of the room.

“So balancing my life between being at home, taking care of my animals and then being at home pole vaulting, it’s a good balance,” Morris says.

From vaulting to lizards, it’s just what makes Sandi- Sandi.

“It’s not weird for me,” says Morris. “It’s totally normal.”

More than just having pets, Sandi is also a gecko breeder.

Her two lizards just had 13 babies.

Sandi is currently touring the world for her indoor season. She opened that season with a victory in New York.

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