Pole vaulter Sam Kendricks charged down the runway in Rio and was prepared to make his jump when he heard the strains of The Star-Spangled banner.
Kendricks, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army and an Olympic athlete, abruptly stopped, dropped his pole and stood at attention in a dramatic moment caught on video that has since gone viral. The Army reservist's patriotic pause came during the qualifying round, and it was not clear if he was penalized.
“Those guys are really proud of me and have given me every chance to continue as a civilian," Kendricks told USA Today. "I am certainly looking to represent the Americans on two fronts, as a military man and as a U.S. athlete.
“I’m just trying to put my best foot forward for all those soldiers who are watching,” he added.
Kendricks went on to capture the bronze medal with an impressive vault of 19 feet, 2 ¼ inches. That made him the first of some 18 members of the U.S. military representing America in the Rio games to medal.
Kendricks, 23, was a track star at Ole Miss from 2012-2014, where he won the national NCAA championship in 2014.