Jenn Suhr won her first world title in front of a sold-out crowd at the Oregon Convention Center and she did so in spectacular fashion by clearing a championship record of 4.90m.
Suhr, the world indoor record-holder since 2013, had a clean series over 4.60m, 4.75m and 4.85m, before clearing her winning 4.90m, also on her first attempt. She initially asked for the bar to be raised to a would-be world indoor record of 5.04m, but decided to call it a day minutes later.
For the first time ever in a women’s pole vault competition, four women went over 4.80m.
US indoor champion Sandi Morris (4.85m) and Greek indoor record-holder Ekaterini Stefanidi (4.80m) joined Suhr on the podium with their first senior global championships medals.
Before the start of the competition, Australian record-holder Alana Boyd was taken from the competition area via wheelchair due to a moderate lateral ankle sprain.
Portugal’s Marta Onofre was the first woman to exit the competition with three misses over the opening 4.35m height.
With Suhr passing at 4.50m, seven women followed with a first clearance at that height. The field was then reduced to seven after Czech Romana Malakova missed with the bar at 4.60m.
Morris was the first woman to go over 4.70m at the first time of asking, followed by Stefanidi. Oceanian record-holder Eliza McCartney and Nicole Buchler of Switzerland also made it on their second and third attempts, respectively.
For the first time ever in an indoor competition, five women went 4.70m or higher, but Brazil’s 2010 world indoor champion and 2015 world silver medallist Fabiana Murer and Greece’s Nikoleta Kyriakopoulu were not among them.
Stefanidi moved to the lead as she became the first woman to clear 4.75m and was soon joined by Suhr. Morris also joined the duo on her second attempt.
Facing elimination for the third time of the evening, Buchler tried and cleared a Swiss record of 4.80m to propel herself into pole position. Morris also made it at the first time of asking to regain the lead, but was soon overtaken by Stefanidi thanks to her clean series.
The youngest athlete of the evening, 19-year-old New Zealander McCartney missed her Oceanian record height of 4.80m and was the next to exit, leaving four women in contention for the medals.
After the US duo of Morris and Suhr cleared 4.85m, Buchler and Stefanidi passed after one miss at that height and the bar was raised to 4.90m.
The European pair could not clear that height, but Stefanidi found some consolation by becoming the first Greek woman to win a world indoor medal since 2008.
After two misses at 4.90m, Morris tried at 4.95m, her winning mark at the US Indoor Championships a week earlier, but was unsuccessful. Fourth at the 2015 World Championships, 23-year-old Morris made it a 1-2 finish for the US and savoured her first global medal.
Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF