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Young girls inspired by WNY Olympian Jenn Suhr

Posted at 1:30 AM, Aug 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-20 08:18:18-04

Fredonia native and pole vaulter champion Jenn Suhr was not able to defend her gold medal Friday night. Suhr finished in seventh, but first in the hearts of these little girls.

"Jenn Suhr really encourages me to follow my dreams and my heart," said 11-year-old Giacinte Laurito, who dreams of becoming an Olympic swimmer. "She encourages me right now to be an Olympic swimmer."

The local Olympian has been fighting a virus in Rio. Giacinte isn't the only girl inspired by the athlete.

"I'm inspired by her," said 9-year-old Silvana Konegni, who dreams of becoming a pole vault gold-medal winner one day, just like Suhr. "If Jenn Suhr did it, then I would like to do it, too."

Suhr's husband and coach, Rick Suhr, posted a photo on twitter Friday morning saying Jenn woke up coughing up blood. But the Olympian kept going, inspiring the next generation to continue pushing.

"She inspires me because she works hard and she never gives up," said Haylee Babar, who wants to play Olympic soccer. "I don't want to give up on soccer even if it's hard on me sometimes like when I go against big people."