It will take nine perfect motions to land Darren Niedermeyer a spot in the Olympics.
The grip, approach, plant, take-off, swing, row, extension, turn and fly-away.
The nine motions make up the perfect pole vault, what Niedermeyer is in search of leading up to the 2012 Games.
An Olympic hopeful, Niedermeyer, a USANA athlete, has been in this spot before. In 2008, the Wisconsin alum fell short of qualifying for the Olympics, failing to advance past the trial rounds. But Niedermeyer feels he made the necessary changes to make this year different.
"I didn't make the last [trial] finals, so recently I switched coaches," Niedermeyer said. "It was time for a change.
"I came back to Illinois where I grew up, and I just changed technique a bit, and my lifting. My technical abilities have gotten much better, and my strength is much better."
He attributes the improvement to his new coach, saying he "has helped me a lot in the weakest parts of my jump." Niedermeyer also sticks to a strict nutritional regimen, ensuring he stays in top shape for pole vaulting events.
"I have a nutritionist create meal plans and an overall diet for me," Niedermeyer said, adding that he takes "high-quality supplements" including "body rocks, fish oil and Bi-Omega.
"I feel pretty good about my health," he added, and feels it's now "easier to recover from a workout."
It will still take a personal-best mark for Niedermeyer to get an invite -- the Olympic Standard-A for the 2012 Games is 5.72 meters, or 18'9 1/4, and Niedermeyer's best vault to date is 18'9. He needs to hit the mark by July 1, making the U.S. Olympic track and field trials, which start June 21 and feature pole vaulting on June 25 and 28, the virtual deadline.
The hope for Niedermeyer is that his revamped approach will lead him to London. And he remains confident with high hopes for the summer, believing his concentraion will help him soar above the competition.
"When I'm on the back of the runway ready to jump, I know what I have to do," Niedermeyer said. "My mind is on the jump."