CINCINNATI — Josh Dangel didn’t have an opportunity to see his debut in a Dick’s Sporting Goods commercial Wednesday night.
He was working.
But the 2009 La Salle graduate certainly knew it aired given the way his phone was flooded with messages.
The 60-second ad titled: “Vault, sleep, repeat” quickly spread online after it aired on television.
The ad highlights how the pole vaulter has prepared for an opportunity to compete in the Olympic Trials this summer.
Dangel, a former University of Cincinnati and La Salle High School standout, is part of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Contenders Program while he trains for a shot at the Olympic Trials.
The sporting goods chain has a partnership through Team USA to create an employment program for Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls. It provides them with a flexible work schedule and competitive pay while they attempt to make their respective team, according to IMG.
Dangel, 25, has been working out in the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California since September – approximately 2,200 miles away from Cincinnati. He is training with former UC coach Kris Mack, who is a coach at the Olympic Training Center.
Although Dangel suffered a recent ankle injury, he still has an opportunity to compete June 18 for a chance to qualify.
“He has all the talent in the world,” Mack said.
But, Mack said it would be surprising if Dangel qualified given he hasn’t been able to jump much because of his injury. He would likely have jump a personal-best 18 feet 3 inches.
Mack said the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo is more realistic, though Dangel is faster and stronger than he’s been in recent years.
During his training, Dangel also works at the Dick’s location in San Diego in the footwear and apparel departments. There are more than 200 athletes in the contenders program in 101 Dick’s stories in 34 states.
Dangel had the privilege of being in one of two commercial spots that feature athletes in the program. Others featured are Jessica Medina (wrestling), Jon Scott (shot put), N’aithan Scott (hurdles), Desiree Miller (wheelchair basketball) and Laura Ryan (synchronized diving), who work at locations across the country.
Dangel’s commercial aired during the “Survivor” season finale Wednesday night. It is also scheduled during the NBA playoffs.
“It’s pretty neat,” Dangel said. “It was kind of surreal when I was first selected. They did a phenomenal job.”
Dangel spent a week filming the shoot in Los Angeles and had long days going through some of the physical training. One day went from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., while a 5 a.m. shoot on a Friday created the early morning scenes.
“It was intense,” he said.
The commercial exhibits the rigorous training he often endures. He also manages to speak with his parents, Tom and Peggy Dangel, on a tablet. Tom and Peggy live in Groesbeck.
“They were pretty tickled,” Josh said.
Longtime La Salle pole vault coach Mike Albrinck watched the commercial online Thursday. He couldn’t be more proud.
“It’s great motivation and I hope inspiration for high school guys who compete now,” Albrinck said.
Dangel was the Division I state runner-up his senior season at La Salle.
In 2014, the UC senior cleared 17 feet, 10.25 inches at the All-Ohio Championships to break the 20-year-old record held by Albrinck.
“He’s very talented and really motivated,” Albrinck said. “The video just shows how hard it is to try to have a job, pay the bills and still train and do all the things you need to do.”
Dangel said he is thankful for the opportunity to represent Cincinnati.
“It’s rewarding to shed light back on them,” Dangel said. “La Salle always has a sweet spot in my heart.”