The 90-year-old pole vaulter

How a story about a man from Arkansas went viral.

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  1. An Olympic feature story about small-town athletes brought me to Jonesboro, Arkansas to interview former Olympic pole vaulter Earl Bell (left) and current Olympian Jeremy Scott. 
  2. No I'm not in #London2012 but even in Jonesboro, #Arkansas you can find former and current Olympic athletes. Pole vaulter Earl Bell and Jeremy Scott #TeamUSA #BBCMagazine
    No I'm not in #London2012 but even in Jonesboro, #Arkansas you can find former and current Olympic athletes. Pole vaulter Earl Bell and Jeremy Scott #TeamUSA #BBCMagazine
  3. What I didn't expect to find was Earl's father, Dr William Bell, who is still jumping at age 90.
  4. Dr William Bell, father of Olympic medalist Earl, is still jumping pole vault at age 90. He broke his own world record for his age group at 7ft 2. #BBCMagazine #fspolevault
    Dr William Bell, father of Olympic medalist Earl, is still jumping pole vault at age 90. He broke his own world record for his age group at 7ft 2. #BBCMagazine #fspolevault
  5. The original story was posted on the BBC website with a little cameo by Dr Bell early in the piece.
  6. But a 90-year-old jumping over a 7ft high bar demanded its own video and so I edited a short clip and we posted it on YouTube and the BBC World News Facebook account.
  7. BBC News: The 90-year-old world record holder in pole vault
  8. It didn't take long for the internet to find the story

  9. Deadspin had it first:
  10. And the rest followed quickly:
  11. Even internationally, the story was popular:
  12. And people on social media started to chime in:

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