Updated: Dec 25, 2020
LoJo’s Team Vault Assault is an athletic development club and competitive track and field team specializing in the pole vault. Team VA based in the greater Philadelphia area and led by one of the top American vaulters over the past 50 years. Team VA's Head Coach Lawrence “LoJo” Johnson is a two-time Olympian, Olympic silver medalist, world champion, and former US Indoor and Outdoor American record holder. LoJo held the NCAA record for over 20 years.
Team VA was established in 2008 to build a small team of young athletes with a strong desire to pole vault. Since then, Team VA has expanded in all events in track and field and has produced numerous HS state champions and national finalists, as well as several collegiate and post-collegiate athletes who earned national and conference titles and records. Over 80% of the athletes who have trained at least two seasons with Team VA earn collegiate athletic scholarships.
(Check out one of Team VA’s college recruiting highlight video below. )
The Team VA Community Outreach Project is ready to begin the next leg in the Team VA's mission: to promote, support, and establish pole vault safety, training, and consistent performance. The Team VA Community Outreach Project will utilize a unique approach to training for the pole vault regardless of a school’s financial resources to supply equipment for “non– revenue” sports. This training has proven safe, effective, and beneficial.
Additionally, Team VA Community Outreach Project participants will also receive online video support via LoJo Vault Assault’s Online Training Support. LoJo Vault Assault’s Online Support is an exclusive beginner and intermediate pole vault support and training guide for aspiring vaulters who may be limited by facilities and resources.
As you may know, the pole vault is the most dangerous and expensive event in track and field. Thus, many times overwhelmed, unqualified, or unsupervised coaches and/or athletes provide support in training and competition settings. Additionally, pole vaulters require poles that are specifically rated by weight (the stiffness of the pole) and length (9’ – 17’). The costs of poles vary from $300 - $600. Proper vaulting equipment (pads, standards, etc.) prove just as expensive ranging from $6,000 - $25,000. (The average cost of participation in the summation of all track and field events is less than a third of the average participatory cost of the pole vault.)
The fundraising campaign will support the Team VA Community Outreach Project by providing poles, equipment, supporting materials, training apparatus, and performance opportunities to reduce the barriers of entry into the pole vault.
As a young black high school student in an inner-city community, LoJo's hope and aspirations to attend college rode solely on opportunities provided through athletics. As a young pole vaulter, he was forced to realize the financial challenge of access to poles, safety education, and fundamental skills which bars the participation of many financially challenged children and student athletes.
It was only after a move to another school district with better resources that LoJo had access to poles (appropriate for my weight and size) and support which would launch his collegiate, post collegiate and Olympic success. As LoJo continued through college as one of a handful of black collegiate athletes and one of three black professional pole vaulters worldwide, he was a constant witness to opportunities lost due to an institution’s lack of investment into one of the most charismatic and mesmerizing events in track and field.
As the only Black American vaulter to win a US title and the only black athlete in the world win a world championship or Olympic silver medal, LoJo is graciously indebted to share and spread his experiences in hope that more doors of opportunity can be opened for all.
Your support provides teaching and training resources to many student athletes who will use high school athletics to boost them into institutions of higher learning. LoJo's appreciation and gratitude will be enhanced by the appreciation and pride of the myriad of students who will become participants in the Team VA Community Outreach Project. We are all thankful for your consideration and support.
Donate to Team VA and/or Team VA's Community Outreach Project via PayPal Giving Fund.
Team VA is a 501(c)(3) organization. Your contribution is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Team VA Tax Identification Number is 61-1728356.