Originally from the United States, C. Nilsen (born January 13, 1998) competes mostly in the pole vault and high jump. In the pole vault competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics, he placed second with a jump of 5.97 metres (19 ft 7 in).
C. Nilsen Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: Winner of Three NCAA Titles
C. Nilsen, who will graduate from USD in 2020, won the pole vault competition in the U.S. Olympic Trials and earned a spot on Team USA.
C. Nilsen has competed for Team USA before, therefore he is an Olympian even though this is his first time competing. He represented the United States with distinction at both the 2017 World Championships and the 2019 Pan American Games, where he won gold.
Kansas City, Missouri, native C. Nilsen is still working out with former University of South Dakota head coach Derek Miles in Vermillion.
While in college, C. Nilsen set the NCAA indoor record for men’s pole vault, won three NCAA titles, and was named the 2020 USTFCCCA National Field Athlete of the Year.
At the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships, he set a new meet record with a leap of 19 feet, 6 inches (5.95 metres), setting him apart from his own previous best.
In what would be C. Nilsen’s last NCAA Championships as a Coyote, he bested world record holder Mondo Duplantis (the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled both the indoor and outdoor NCAA meets in 2020).
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C. Nilsen is just the fourth Olympian to represent USD. His mentor Derek Miles, who competed in the Olympics in 2004, 2008, and 2012, is an inspiration. At the 2008 Olympics, Miles competed in the pole vault and came away with a bronze medal.
Greg Haydenluck (1988, 1992) and Eugene Vidal (1984) both competed for the Coyotes in the decathlon and the bobsleigh, respectively (1920).
But the American athlete quickly realised that he not only enjoyed, but excelled at, his new activity. He also enjoyed the increased sense of duty that came with going it alone in competition.