BeijingFor the second straight Olympic Games, Yelena Isinbayeva set a new World record in the Pole Vault. Sending the capacity crowd at National Stadium into a frenzy, the Russian defended her title with a leap of 5.05m, adding a centimetre to her own 5.04m record set last month at the Herculis Super Grand Prix in Monaco.
“I was trying to do my best for the crowd,” said the 26-year-old after setting her 24th world mark. “I felt that I could not go without a world record because of the support the crowd gave me.”
Success came on her third attempt, although her second was reasonably close as well.
The majority of the half dozen other competitors who remained in the competition were already struggling when Isinbayeva opened at 4.70m, a massive clearance by some 30cm that clearly illustrated that a World record would be a possibility.
She had already clinched the gold with her second jump, a clean effort at 4.85m. Next came an assault on her four-year-old Olympic record of 4.91m, which she managed on her third try at 4.95m.
“I remembered my feelings from Athens and I wanted to feel that again.”
As has become the norm, Isinbayeva whiled away her time lying on the grass near the runway, a cap and towel covering her face, seemingly oblivious to the dramatic competition unfolding in the background. Here at Olympic Stadium, she even broke that routine to stand for four national anthems that accompanied the awards ceremonies for the men’s 10,000m, the women’s Discus Throw, men’s 3000m steeplechase, and women’s 800m.
Isinabayeva is now a dozen records shy of overtaking men’s Pole Vault legend World record haul of 35, and she reiterated that she’ll keeping going until she gets there.
“Yes, I will do it. I have just 12 more to go. Life would be boring without records to break.”
According to script, American record holder Jenn Stuczynski took the silver, topping out at 4.80m. Opening at 4.55m, she also cleared 4.70m on her first try, needed a second at 4.75m before going over 4.80m on her first to clinch the silver. At 4.90m, her first go was reasonably close, her second less so.
Isinbayeva was asked about the American’s comments earlier in the summer that she would beat her at the Olympic Games.
“You saw tonight what happened,” Isinbayeva said. “Sometimes people talk too much.”
4.75m was enough for silver four years ago; here it was needed to strike bronze. Athens silver medallist Svetlana Feofanova left herself in medal contention with a first attempt success while her Russian teammate Yuliya Golubchikova needed a pair of tries before going clear, adding two centimetres to her personal best. 4.80m though was well beyond the reach of each.
Monika Pyrek, who looked good in the early going, bowed out at that height, after a pair of misses and a run-through to eliminate herself from the medal chase.
Pre-meet medal favourite Fabiana Murer of Brazil, who upped her career best to 4.80m this summer, made an early exit, though the blame wasn’t apparently her own. After sailing over her 4.45m opener, she realized that the pole she needed for her next height, 4.55m, was missing. After a delay of several minutes, her search went in vain and she chose to skip the height, expending considerable energy in the process.
Also making an unexpected early departure was defending bronze medallist Anna Rogowska, who after clearing her opening 4.45m, found 4.55m too much to handle.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF
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