If Nick Frawley could go back, he wouldn’t.
The former Midlothian track and field virtuoso did just about everything right coming into his approach at the Word Military Games in Rio De Janeiro last month.
His preparation – the kind a world-class athlete is accustomed to – was as rigorous as it was detailed. Everything was on point.
Still, though, Frawley, who was representing the United States in the pole vault, hit a mark that was considerably lower than his personal best.
He was soon ousted from the medal category after placing sixth with a jump of 16 feet, 8 ¾ inches. Not his worst, not his best, but a contrast from the 18-1 mark he cleared in college.
But the Air Force Academy alumnus and standard-bearer for both his prep and collegiate alma maters isn’t a stranger to perspective.
“It’s hard to be on top of your game all of the time,” said Frawley, a 2006 Midlothian grad. “I just couldn’t get it done that day. It was still a good experience.”
That brand of outlook only paled in comparison to what he absorbed on this particular trip, though.
The World Military Games is an assemblage of the world’s finest military athletes who can compete in an event akin to the Olympics.
From South America, Canada to Pakistan, athletes represented not only their country but their respective branch of service.
Even when pitted against the likes of North Korea and Iran, any sort of tension between the countries was shelved.
The ISM Military World Games at Olympic Stadium had a tagline of “Friendship through sports.”
Athletes whose country is in conflict with another were able to build a relationship of sorts through the competition.
Frawley was quick to note the perspective he gained from the week-long event. It was nothing like the myriad of NCAA Division I track meets he finished on the top of the podium time and time again.
“What you learn about people from (other countries)
is that they may not be so different than we are,” Frawley said. “They have families, dreams and aspirations too.”
Frawley admitted that his vault was the only downside to his trip. Everything else he mentally banked.
From the white sands and ever-popular stádio do Maracana soccer stadium to the Cristo Redentor, Frawley relished the non-athletic aspects of the trip.
It was the vault that got him there, though, and he is making it a point to make sure competitions away from the states aren’t isolated instances.
After finishing second and third at the NCAA championships, the thought of locking down a spot in the Olympics started to surface.
And they’ve yet to subside.
“I’m going to (vault) as long as I can,” said Frawley, who last visited Midlothian during Christmas time. “I’m aiming for the 2016 Olympics and, if I’m still going, the 2020 Olympics.”
He noted that the world’s most vaunted pole vaulters don’t compete in the games until their late 20s and early 30s.
Good news for the 23-year-old who lives with his younger twin brothers Eric and Vince. Interestingly, Vince won a Texas 4A state title two years ago in the same event as his older brother.
“That’s always been the goal,” Frawley said. “We’ll see if I get there.”