Jennifer Suhr wins gold medal in women’s pole vault, ending Yelena Isinbayeva’s bid for a third straight Olympic title.
LONDON – Long the best pole vaulter in the United States, Jenn Suhr officially became the best pole vaulter in the world Monday evening when she won the gold medal in a stirring competition at Olympic Stadium. “It’s very emotional” Suhr said. “It’s something that you work so hard for, for four years, and heartbreak and joy, and then some more heartbreak. To overcome it and come out on top is something that whenever I thought of I started crying, so I knew it was just going to be emotional, whenever I thought about how it would feel to win gold. Then I would think of how it would feel to be fourth, and I’d cry over that too. It was definitely something that I’ve wanted, I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything so bad.”
Having recovered from a 2012 season that saw her struggle with achilles problems in the indoor season and quad problems this outdoor season, Suhr (Churchville, N.Y.) jumped efficiently, strategically and well throughout the windy, blustery night. By the time the 2008 silver medalist entered the competition and recorded a first-attempt clearance at 4.55m/14 feet, 11 inches, she was already in the top four, and Becky Holliday (Jonesboro, Ark.) had placed ninth with a best clearance of 4.45/14-7.25.
Suhr passed at 4.65/15-3, and three other women remained when she resumed jumping at 4.70m/15-5: Yarisley Silva of Cuba, Silke Spiegelburg of Germany and world record holder and defending gold medalist Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia. Suhr again cleared on her first try, as did Silva and Isinbayeva. Spiegelburg missed and passed to the next height of 4.75m/15-7.
All four women missed their first attempts at 4.75, and Suhr took the lead when she cleared on her second attempt. Silva then followed with a second-attempt clearance to set a Cuban national record and take over second place, owing to a miss on her opening jump at 4.45m/14-7.25. Spiegelburg had two misses to bow out of the competition. Isinbayeva missed twice and passed on her third attempt as the bar rose to 4.80m/15-9.
Suhr, Silva and Isinbayeva all missed on their first try at 4.80, knocking Isinbayeva out of the competition and leaving a two-woman duel. Jumping first in the order, Suhr missed on her second attempt, as did Silva. Suhr again was not close on her third try, putting Silva in a position to control her own destiny: win and get the gold, miss and get the silver.
With her victory, Suhr joined Stacy Dragila (2000) – whose American records she has rewritten – as American Olympic gold medalists in the event.
Story (unedited) courtesy of usta.org