10 MAR 2001 General News Johnson and Harvey make it one

The final of the men's pole vault

Men pole vault final
Johnson & Harvey go 1-2 for USA

Feeling supremely confident after his recent national record of 5.96 at the U.S. Championships, Olympic silver medalist Lawrence Johnson passed the first three heights in a nail-biting pole vault competition he wouldn’t win until many more heights were cleared. The man known as "Lojo" skipped 5.30, 5.45 and 5.60 before picking his stick at 5.70 He made a monster clearance, as did teammate Tye Harvey and they were joined atop the leader board by France’s Roman Mesnil.

Continuing his bold play, Johnson skipped 5.80, a height both Harvey and Mesnil cleared on first try. At 5.85 Mesnil kept the pressure on with his fourth first-try clearance of the day. Johnson also went over, but Harvey missed twice and it was his turn to roll the dice. He was guaranteed the bronze, but to earn a medal of a better color he was going to have to clear a higher height. So he passed, leaving himself with a single try available for success at 5.90, a height Johnson would pass. Mesnil missed on his first attempt and when Harvey came up with a big come through on the only attempt open to him, the Frenchman was forced to pass to the next height.

Mesnil was first up at 5.95, a height that proved too much for him. Johnson then proved to be mortal for the first time on the day, not coming particularly close. Harvey missed, then all missed again, eliminating Mesnil. The Americans were guaranteed of a 1-2, and when Johnson slithered over on his ultimate attempt and Harvey missed the former was the winner.

Asked about his last-gasp clearance after a pair of so-so attempts, Johnson said, "We haven’t been trying to peak at World Indoors and that showed in my approach. I want my competitors to know that even if I’m on my third jump Lawrence Johnson is a threat."