Mormon Olympian April Steiner Bennett
April Steiner Bennett is from Mesa, Arizona, and is a graduate of the University of Arkansas. She was born April 22, 1980, and in January 2008 married Cameron Bennett, who is a former ASU pole vaulter.
April is a pole vaulter and four-time All-American. She was the 2003 SEC Outdoor Champion. She achieved second place in the Olympic trials, qualifying her to compete in her first Olympics. April had made an Olympic attempt in 2004, but only placed fifth, although she achieved her personal best score there.
April began her sports career not with a passion for a particular sport, but with an intense desire to be in the Olympics, a goal set in childhood. She started with tennis, and tried a number of other sports before making the track team at Paradise Valley Community College in Arizona. In 1999, one of her coaches suggested she try pole vaulting. This was newly open to women in the Olympics, which meant there was reduced competition for open spots and a greater chance of acceptance into top schools. The change to pole vaulting earned her a scholarship to the University of Arkansas, an important first step.
After her failed Olympic attempt in 2004, she found herself in need of financial assistance in order to continue her expensive training. As a result, she accepted an offer to appear on Fear Factor, a television program which challenges contestants to do disgusting or frightening things. For this program, she had to eat mashed potatoes that had maggots and live worm green beans. She stuck it out and won 50,000 dollars, demonstrating her willingness to do what it takes to make her dreams come true.
These days, with a sponsorship from Adidas, the process of financial survival is much easier. However, her personal website contained various fundraising items to help send her family to the Olympics with her.
She credits the year where she achieved her career best jumps, to her recent marriage. She is active in USATFs Be A Champion program, because she loves working with and encouraging young athletes.
April participated in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and finished 8th for Team USA.
To learn more about April, visit her personal website: April Steiner Bennett.com