Maggie’s blog is a new affiliate site of the USA Track & Field (USATF) online store, which is a pretty big deal for friends and followers of storybook heroine, Maggie Steele.
USATF is is the national governing body for track and field in the United States. Its online store offers a wide selection of official merchandise such as bags, team gear, and performance apparel.
Proceeds go directly toward funding a variety of USATF programs and initiatives, ranging from youth activities to elite athlete development and support of Team USA.
“To the best of my knowledge Maggie Steele is the first and only fictional athlete to earn this type of recognition from USA Track & Field,” said Grant Overstake, author of the YA novel, Maggie Vaults Over the Moon. “It’s a real tribute.”
Maggie is a gritty farm girl from tiny Grain Valley, Kansas who pours her broken heart into the daring sport of pole-vaulting. Driven by a secret she cannot share with anyone, Maggie finds herself on a dangerous quest to soar waaay higher than her critics think a girl should ever go.
This novel has inspired many athletes who train with USATF affiliated clubs and compete in USATF sponsored competitions, including national Junior Olympic champion Makayla Linebarger.
Dating back to the mid-1960’s, the Junior Olympic program is the most visible youth athlete developmental program in the world, attracting 70,000 athletes every year. Several top USATF club coaches have given the novel to their athletes to inspire them, including Richard and Laura Borman.
In college he earned USATF All-America honors in the decathlon (1977). Most recently (2009) he won the bronze medal at the national USATF Master’s Decathlon (50-55 age group).
“Track and field is a great activity for people of all ages,” Overstake said. “It also attracts some of the very best people in sports. It’s wonderful that Maggie’s story has allowed me to meet so many of them.”