Kenworthy to Vault Into Foam This Time

Former Crespi High pole vaulter Dave Kenworthy can think of any number of accomplishments he would like to be known for--winning the NCAA championship in 1982, tying for third at the ’84 Olympic trials or finishing third at the 1983 NCAA indoor championships.

He would like to be known for just about anything, that is, other than what most people remember about him--that he pole vaulted into a pile of fertilizer on a television commercial.

Kenworthy, 24, who will compete at the Times/Kodak Indoor Games tonight at the Forum in Inglewood, has made several TV commercials in his effort to subsidize his training as an amateur athlete. But it is his vault last summer at the so-called “Bandini Olympics"--a stunt that included a jaunt down a runway of manure and a landing in a pit of facsimile fertilizer--that seems to have gained Kenworthy the most notoriety.

The commercial for Bandini fertilizer was aired last summer during the Los Angeles Olympics. It featured athletes performing in three events--the shot put, triple jump and pole vault.

The filming for the ad took place at Bandini Mountain in the City of Industry. All Kenworthy had to do was catapult himself into a pit full of something other than foam rubber.


“It wasn’t really Bandini, but a reasonable facsimile thereof,” Kenworthy confessed. “I would never (vault into real fertilizer). I have a little more respect than that.”

Kenworthy, whose best vault is 18 feet, 4 3/4 inches, jumped 14-0 at the Bandini Olympics, a mark he was satisfied with afterward.

“I was pretty happy with that,” Kenworthy said. “It’s difficult running through that stuff.”

Kenworthy will be running on a more conventional surface tonight when he challenges some of the world’s best pole vaulters at the Times/Kodak Games. Among the expected competitors are Americans Doug Lytle--who edged Kenworthy for the third and final Olympic berth at last year’s U.S. trials--Dan Ripley, and Friendship Games winner Volkov Konstantin of the Soviet Union.

Although Kenworthy’s best indoor mark of 18-3 is well off Frenchman Thierry Vigneron’s world indoor record of 19-2, the USC graduate is confident that 1985 will be his year. Part of the reason for his optimism is the three months he spent in France last year training with Vigneron, 1984 Olympic gold medal winner Pierre Quienon and the rest of the French vaulters, considered among the finest in the world.

Kenworthy won his first indoor meet this season, vaulting 18-1 at the Osaka International Track Meet in Japan.

Other Valley-area athletes competing at the Times/Kodak Games include three members of the Cal State Northridge track team and one former member.

Matador cross-country All-American John Spillman will run in the 3,000 meters, while teammates Aaron Buckholtz and Rick Weyers are entered in the 35-pound weight throw. Former CSUN and Olympic standout Valerie Brisco-Hooks is also scheduled to compete in the women’s 440-yard dash.

On the prep level, Polytechnic High of Sun Valley is entered in the boys 8x160 relay. Scheduled to run are Braulio Rosa, Shayland Brown, Jerry Gilmore, Brian Panariello, Andre McCormick, Cary Perkins, Kevin Eto and Charles Williams. Derrick Jones is the alternate.