Blind pole vaulter qualifies for Arizona high school state track meet [Video]

aria ottmueller blind pole vaulter

Aria Ottmueller is a 17-year old Arizona high school student who will be, like several others throughout the state, competing for the state title in the pole vault on Friday.

So why are we showing you her video?

Because unlike the rest of those competing, she’s legally blind.

Ottmueller is able to count her steps in her approach to the pit, and after memorizing the form of the actual vault, along with her determination, she is able to succeed like a person that could see clear as day.

This according to Fox Sports Arizona:

Ottmueller has optic nerve hypoplasia, a condition in which the optic nerves don’t properly develop, and was born without sight. She later gained some vision, bringing her visual acuity to 20-200 — still considered legal blindness — but lost half of what she had gained by eighth grade and now sees at 20-400.


At night, Ottmueller can’t see at all. Same goes for overcast days. She has no peripheral vision or depth perception and can’t see facial expressions. She relies on general shapes and her other senses to get around and requires special academic arrangements.

Despite not being able to see her way through life, Ottmueller hasn’t shied away from pursuing her dreams and goals.

“My whole motto has been ‘I can’t be afraid of what I can’t see,” Ottmueller said.

It’s a testament to a young girl’s drive to succeed no matter the barriers she may encounter in life.