5 inches.

That’s about the length of an average cell phone.

It’s also what separates Darren Niedermeyer from the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream.

Darren is a pole vaulter, and the U.S. Olympic Trials are coming in July. A vault of 18’6” automatically qualifies you to go to Trials.

“My best this year is 18’1” but I’ve gone as high as 18’9”,” Darren says matter-of-factly. “You just have to do it on the day of a meet.”

A Chicago native, Darren took a leap of a different kind 3 years ago, moving to Jonesboro, Arkansas to train with an elite coach. That’s where this career salesman found a special home as a retail sales consultant at AT&T.

“I’ve had to quit jobs because I can’t get my practices in,” Darren remembers. “I usually train anywhere from 2-6 hours a day. AT&T has been great. I can plan my training around my work schedule. It’s huge.”

You know what else is huge? The stage of an Olympic Trials. Darren believes he’ll get there, but then the heat really turns up. He says at that point it’s a different 5 inches that matters – the 5 inches between your ears.

“Pressure is good – it makes you get pumped up, get to that next level – but so much of it is mental,” Darren says. “If you’ve got that dream and you’re going for it every single day with how you eat, sleep, how you practice day to day… that’s what it’s about. You make it work for you.”

Darren will compete in meets throughout May and June hoping to reach new heights… with the goal of jumping to a perfect conclusion: Darren Niedermeyer, U.S. Olympic Team.

“It would be awesome. Ever since I was 4 years old I’ve been working toward this. It would be a dream come true.”