“I am honored by this nomination and grateful to the fans of sport who voted me into the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame. This is the Valley where my dream of being a great athlete began, and I am humbled at the opportunity to come home."
Olympic Pole Vaulting
High School: Placer
College: Yuba College, Idaho State
* Olympic Gold Medalist: Pole Vault (2000, Sydney)
* 2 Time World Champion (1999, 2001)
* World Indoor Champion (1997)
* 2 Time Jesse Owens Award Winner (2000, 2001)
* Multiple World Record setter
Stacy Dragila grew up in Auburn, on the same farm as her mom did. With lots of animals and chores, she learned responsibility and a great work ethic at an early age. This was the foundation for Stacy’s future success. Stacy was involved with 4H and FFA; which kept her focused and determined to succeed. During these years she was always very sports minded, and would try anything. She did gymnastics, swimming and just about anything offered through the Auburn Recreation Department. In middle school, she fell in love with volleyball and track. Her dad encouraged her to go out for track and even made her a set of hurdles out of PVC pipe that she practiced with on her gravel driveway.
Both her parents, Bill and Irma, were graduates of Placer High School, and Stacy carried on the family tradition. She played Volleyball all four years and was on the Cross Country Ski team. She was part of the school Rodeo Club team, where she earned her nickname the “Goat Roper.” But it was Track and Field that became not only her love but her career. While she was only a sophomore in high school she began working out with legendary Yuba College Coach, John Orognen. Together they worked to perfect her technique. After learning so much from her new mentor during high school, her college choice was an easy one. Stacy stayed close to home and went to Yuba, where she was on the volleyball and track teams.
She started the Heptathlon at Yuba College and posted very high marks, leading her to being recruited by several schools. After a visit to Idaho State in 1992, she knew it was the place for her. Head Coach, Dave Nielsen, was an innovator and forward thinker. Stacy stills remembers the day when he came over and asked the team if they wanted to pole vault. At that time it was only for men, but he had the vision and always wanted to give women the equal opportunity. After much difficulty at first, Stacy began to pick up the technique and get stronger. Although this wasn’t an official college sport, Nielsen would arrange for the women to hold a competition prior to the regular meet to create interest. It worked: in 1995, Stacy competed at the U.S. Nationals at Hughes Stadium. She took 2nd place clearing a height of 10’ 6” inches and was now a member of the U.S. National team.
Traveling overseas, Stacy was so proud to represent her country, and still remembers putting on her USA team gear. After that amazing experience she continued to increase her marks. In 1996, Stacy set a new American record and then broke her own record 4 times. In 1997, the International Athletics Federation included Women’s Pole Vaulting for the first time and Stacy was ready. The best from the world were all there. Stacy set a world record of 14’ 5¼” and took the Gold! She continued to compete as the sport gained more recognition. Emma George from Australia, was the dominant Pole Vaulter from 1996 to 1999 setting 12 consecutive world records. But in 1999, Stacy would change that at the first World Outdoor Championships. She defeated George, won the Gold Medal and was now ranked number 1 in the world.
Finally, the IOC added women's pole vaulting to the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. For Stacy, it was a dream come true and even better; the Olympic Trials were held at Sacramento State’s Hornet Stadium. Being very familiar with the track and having a huge support team in the crowd, Stacy was ready. She was in a great rhythm that afternoon and broke another World Record. She jumped 15’1”, winning the competition and was now a U.S. Olympian.
At the Sydney games, Stacy was fearless and was determined not to be denied. On September 25, 2000, Stacy would become the very first Women’s Olympic Gold Medalist in the Pole Vault. “I still get emotional when I hear the national anthem played, it takes me back to that moment… the journey: all the people and friendships along the way; all the hard work and commitment, too.” She finished 2000 as the world's top-ranked Pole Vaulter. Over the years she continued to increase her personal best and set more world records when she cleared 15’ 9¼”.
Stacy is a true pioneer and an ambassador for the sport. She received the Jesse Owens Award both in 2000 and 2001, and was named the IAAF World Athlete of the Year in 2001. Overall she won 9 U.S. Outdoor Championships; 8 Indoor titles; is a 2 time World Champion and an Olympic Gold Medalist. In 2014, she was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame. Stacy has dedicated her life to growing the sport through introducing “Stick Jumping” to schools, and the Stacy Dragila Vault Camps around the country. She currently lives in Boise, Idaho where her Olympic Training center is located. Stacy is a role model for young athletes, demonstrating that never giving up and never being afraid to try can lead to enormous success.