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"What he does is absolutely insane": Meet the 82-year-old pole vaulter setting records

82-year-old pole vaulter sets records
82-year-old pole vaulter sets records 02:05

Princeton, Texas — Just about every teenager jumps to the same conclusion the first time they see 82-year-old Don Isett walk into the Texas Express, a pole vaulting gym near Dallas. 

"I thought maybe, 'Oh, he's some kid's grandfather or something. Then it's like, 'Oh, wait a minute,'" said one of the teens. 

Isett is the nation's best pole vaulter in his age group — and pretty much the only pole vaulter in his age group. He picked up the sport — for a second time — at age 66, five decades after an unremarkable high school career. 

"It's fun," he said. "It's like going to high school again with nothing to study." 

He has nothing to study but the physics of gravitational potential energy —  and pain management. But Isett said it's worth the aches. 

"It's a rush, exhilaration, when you clear a bar," he said. 

At a meet last year, Isett cleared 9 feet, 1 inch. No octogenarian has ever done such a thing. 

"What he does is absolutely insane," another teenager at the gym said. 

Isett said he's not done setting records. He told CBS News he plans to stay fit and keep at this until he's 6 feet under. 


To contact On the Road, or to send us a story idea, email us: OnTheRoad@cbsnews.com.   

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