In memory of my friend,


The greatest masters athlete I ever had the pleasure to work with.

1945 - 2003

On the left at Halloween as "Danbo" instead of Rambo. Below is my eulogy for Dan's funeral followed by his 1995 World Masters Championships winning vault of 4.60m (15' 1"). There are 16 seconds between the time he left the ground on frame #2 & met me for congratulations on frame #8. Like Dan, time flies & is so very precious. In frame #9 we're choosing a new WR height to go for.

My Dear Micheline:

I was sorry to hear of your loss, as are countless people around the world in many arenas. It's tough to be as successful as Dan was in any one category, but I find it astounding that he excelled in everything he touched. I'm sorry I can't be there due to my work schedule, but of course we never get much notice of the timing of these events. I would enjoy offering my view of Dan as an athlete and person if you would permit me.

To me, Dan Borrey was a hero, a great business and family man, but to get to know him as a pole vaulter, I would like to share the story of the beginning of our friendship. He approached me after a competition where he had just gotten his season high of 12' 6" (3.83m). I could see by the look in his eye that he was hungry for more, yet it was the last meet of the year. He wanted to talk to me about his "goals" for the next year. He told me that he planned on winning the masters world championship in Buffalo (he would be 49), barely a year a way, with a vault of 4.60m (15' 1") and then get the age 50 world record 12 days later in a meet. I asked what his best was in his prime and he answered 4.20m (13' 9 1/4"). In my mind I'm saying this guy is crazy. He wants to vault over a foot higher than he did in his youth at age 49. Ludicrous - unless you're Dan Borrey.

I told him I would have to think about it and that he may need to reassess his goals because the odds are logically and overwhelmingly against him. Not to be deterred, he came out and met me at the track and we had a heart to heart talk. Dan was a strong and powerful man in every capacity, but if he respected or liked you he would listen, and stare at you intently, and then go do it. Seeing that, I told him that I would take the project, but that he must do everything exactly how I explained. He was free to question anything but may change nothing in the plan or execution. He agreed and our seemingly impossible mission was underway.

Buffalo was odd because I was also competing at worlds in the division just under his age group; at the same time but on runways on opposite sides of the field. It was really pretty funny because he would run over to my runway to ask something, and when I finished a vault, I would go to his pit until I was up again. Fortunately, Dan is much better than me so I was out of the meet early enough that I could stay with him the last and most crucial hour of his mission. That day in July of 1995 he became world champion with a mark of 4.60m - 15' 1", EXACTLY as he said he would. Two weeks later he turned 50 and immediately broke the world record at 4.50m (14' 9") - AGAIN, as he said he would. AMAZING!!

In closing, a few years back Dan was diagnosed with cancerous lymphoma. I noticed he was not himself and seemed deeply troubled and preoccupied. I mentioned this as we both walked to our cars after practice. He called me that night, and with his voice breaking, told me the news and asked me to tell no one. A few days later I learned that the only reason he told me was because he wanted to the get the world record when he turned 55. Here's a guy dying of cancer and he wants one last world record. Indoor nationals in Boston came and again our plan was perfect and he was crowned the best ever in the world and a new record to prove it. The only reason he started telling people later was because his hair had fallen out from chemotherapy, yet he was STILL out vaulting. Who has such a passion for ANYTHING so great, that knowing the records are gone, and the skills and life are quickly leaving his body that he continues to live for what he loves.

Dan was a true hero and inspiration like I have never, nor will ever see and I loved him deeply as a friend and wonderful person. Though he will be incredibly missed, you just have to know that he's in Heaven right now teaching someone how to pole vault. That's just Dan!! I feel blessed to have had him in my life and heart. - Bubba

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED - When Dan got the M55 Indoor World Record at 4.06m (13' 4") he made me promise that I would jump higher when I was his age, some 10 years later. On July 14, 2008 at 55, I cleared 4.10m (13' 5 1/4"). Thanks for the goal and motivation Dan!!

NOTE - Micheline Borrey reminds me via email today (10/21/05) that a Dan Borrey Memorial Pole Vault Competition is held each year in Dan's hometown of Brussels, Belgium (Link/Info Below). Video below from Steve Gorman, Gettysburg, PA.