15 MAR 2003 General News

Women High Jump Qualifying

Following shortly on the heels of Stacy Dragila's stunning non-qualification in the pole vault, favorite Kajsa Bergqvist provided an enthralled crowd with a nail-biting finish to the women's high jump preliminaries.

The animated Swede had no problem at her first three heights, sailing over 1.87, 1.90 and 1.93 on first try, but her magic briefly deserted her in her first two tries at the automatic qualifier of 1.95.

Despite her perfect record through 1.93, Bergqvist was in trouble after two rounds at 1.95, as eight other contestants (three from Pool A, 5 from Pool B) were already in.

So it came down to only Bergqvist left in the competition, and all eyes on her. Waiting until the public address had gone silent, she sped towards the bar from the left side, planted, then soared upwards. Her calves snicked the bar on the way down, setting it a-jiggle, but it stuck. She rolled her eyes skyward, blew a kiss to the crowd, then stuck out her tongue in relief.

With none of the qualifiers for tomorrow's final having made it through qualifying without a miss, Bergqvist remains the favorite, albeit less of a one than she was coming in.