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[edit] References
^ Russia’s pole vault champ hails Moscow’s 2010 Youth Olympics bid
^ Bekele and Isinbayeva win Athletes of the Year titles for second year
^ Sports Illustrated 2007
^ Shaheen, Isinbayeva, Klüft…athletics' current best win streaks
^ Defar, Isinbayeva complete indoor hat-tricks
^ "I am stronger now in my personal condition....Before I was full of problems” - Isinbayeva - ÅF Golden League, Rome
^ Yelena Isinbayeva (RUS) is the female Waterford Crystal European Athlete of the Year 2008
^ Silnov scales 2.38m world lead in London – IAAF World Athletics Tour
^ Isinbayeva 5.04m World record; another four season leads in Monaco
^ BBC Sport; Results - Monday 18 August
^ BBC Sport 12 August 2005
^ Vaulting towards Bubka's benchmark (The Guardian, Jan 3 2006)
^ The Guardian July 17, 2005
^ deccanherald

edit] External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Yelena Isinbayeva
Yelena Isinbayeva - Official Webpage
IAAF profile for Yelena Isinbayeva
Isinbayeva, Yelena
Russian pole vaulter
3 June 1982
Volgograd, Russia
Retrieved from ""

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

BEIJING (AP)—Yelena Isinbayeva got the Olympic gold and a world record; American Jenn Stuczynski got the silver and a lesson in humility.
And we now have a new rivalry that should make woman’s pole vaulting fun to watch for many more years to come.
Big poles and big mouths don’t go together. Stuczynski knows that now. Pole vaulting isn’t basketball or boxing. It’s far too graceful of a sport for the kind of trash-talk she doled out before the Beijing Games.
“I hope we do some damage,” she had said, “and, you know, kick some Russian butt.”
Big mistake.
Isinbayeva is Russian but she understands English just fine. The greatest women’s pole vaulter of all time heard Stuczynski’s challenge loud and clear.
“I am not deaf,” she said. “It made me really angry.”
Their head-to-head clash turned Monday night at the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing into a showdown, with long poles instead of Don King.
First, some Cliffs Notes for those who didn’t tune into this saga, with its slightly musty Cold War whiff, in the run-up to the Olympics.
— Stuczynski: Tall, wholesome American, natural athlete; took up pole vaulting late, had a gift for it, quickly became second-best woman’s vaulter of all time, behind the Russian.
— Isinbayeva: Lithe former gymnast who switched to pole vault when she grew too tall as a teen, hasn’t looked back since. In a class of her own.
Like any good fight, the public announcer introduced the combatants first. Isinbayeva was presented last and got the crowd’s biggest roar. No mistaking who the Bird’s Nest was rooting for.
Isinbayeva is a bit like those supermodels who supposedly don’t get out of bed for anything less than a very lucrative photo shoot. Only when the bar has reached dizzying heights that most other vaulters can’t clear does Isinbayeva deign to take her first jump.
She’s just that good.
Monday night, her first jump was 4 meters 70 (15 feet, 5 inches). She soared right over. Seven of the 11 other vaulters had already dropped out by that point.
And so up the bar went, and up again. It’s that exquisite turning of the screw that makes pole vaulting so addictive to watch. Who’ll crack first?
Women’s pole vault has only been an Olympic sport since the Sydney Games in 2000. It was an instant crowd pleaser. Almost single-handedly thanks to Isinbayeva, the sport has grown by leaps and bounds since then. Stacy Dragila’s winning height in Sydney was 4.60 (15-1), which Stuczynski and Isinbayeva now sail over that in their sleep.
On Monday night, the last two hangers on dropped out with the bar at 4.80 (15-9), leaving Isi and Stu to fight it out for the gold alone.
The Russian won by KO. She cleared 4.85 (15-11). Stuczynski vaulted no higher than 4.80. Game over.
With the whole stadium now eating out of her hand, Isinbayeva wasn’t going to stop there. The crowd had only seen her jump twice—that was all it had taken for her to defend her Olympic crown.
She wanted to give them more … and perhaps rub that American nose just a little deeper in the dirt.
It was showtime. Isinbayeva-time. And that meant a world record.
First, she broke the Olympic record—her own, from Athens four years ago— as an appetizer.
Then, the bar went to a height it’s never been before, 5.05 (16-6 3/4).
She got it on the last of her three tries. She was celebrating even before she had fallen back to earth. She screamed. Clutched her face. Screamed some more. Did a forward somersault. Grabbed a Russian flag from someone in the crowd and set off on a lap of honor.
And that whole time, Stuczynski was made to wait, sitting on a row of plastic chairs, until Isinbayeva had cleared the magic height. It was the 24th time that the Russian had set a world record; she generally likes to eke them out one centimeter at a time.
Afterward, Stuczynski didn’t want to talk about her pre-game trash-talk, brushing off a question with an abrupt “OK, next.”
It was her first Olympics and her first medal, “I couldn’t ask for anything more,” she said.
Beaten but not cowed, she said she expects to catch Isinbayeva eventually.
“It’s just experience. She’s been in the Olympics before, she’s been in world championships, she’s jumped a decade longer than me, so it’s just a matter of time,” she said.
Isinbayeva tried not to be smug. She had done what she had set out to do: let her vaulting do the talking.
“I just wanted to prove who is the best at the Olympic Games.”
But she couldn’t resist one last little dig
“She must respect me and … know her position,” she said.
“Now she knows it.”
John Leicester is an Olympics columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at
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Yelena Isinbayeva 5.01m Helsinki 2005 WR

The pole vault is a relatively new discipline for women, but Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva is busy setting records that could stand for years.Between the ages of five and 15 she trained as a gymnast in her hometown of Volgograd, but when she grew too tall she decided to take up athletics.Within two years she had landed her first major gold medal, at the 1999 World Youth Championships. She improved so quickly and to such an extent that she qualified for the following year’s Olympic Games despite being just 18 years old. In 2001 she set a world junior record – 4.46m – and in her first year as a senior (2002) won a silver medal at the European Championships. But she made her big breakthrough in 2003 – competing in Gateshead, she set a world record: 4.82m.Yelena started 2004 in superb form and continued her run of world records. She won the World Indoor Championships before setting more outdoor world records – including a 4.91m winning vault at the Olympics.At this point she had improved by 32cm within two years and the 5m barrier was definitely in her sights. Sure enough, at the 2005 London Grand Prix, she sailed over it – and improved by a further centimetre while winning gold at the World Championships.Although that world record has remained untouched until July 2008, Yelena continued to dominate the event: she won the 2006 European title and the 2007 world title, and set a new world record, her 21st, earlier in 2008: 4.95m, indoors.On 11 July 2008, Yelena set a new outdoor world record of 5.03m at the Rome Golden Gala – is there any stopping her?She is well on her way to being the next Sergey Bubka

From the age of 5 to 15, Isinbayeva trained as a gymnast in her hometown of Volgograd. She ultimately left the sport because as she grew she was considered too tall to be competitive in gymnastics, ultimately attaining a height of 1.74 m (5' 8½").

[edit] 1998-2002
In her first big competition, the 1998 World Junior Championships in Annecy, France, Isinbayeva jumped 4.00 m but this left her 10 cm away from the medal placings. In 1999, Isinbayeva improved on this at the World Youth Games in Bydgoszcz, Poland when she cleared 4.10 m to take her first gold medal.
At the 2000 World Juniors Isinbayeva again took first place clearing 4.20 m ahead of German Annika Becker. The same year the women's pole vault made its debut as an Olympic event in Sydney, Australia where Stacy Dragila of United States took gold.
2001 saw another gold medal, this time at the European Junior Championships with a winning height of 4.40 m.
Isinbayeva continued to improve in this relatively new event and 2002 saw her clear 4.55 m. at the European Championships finishing 5 cm short of compatriot Svetlana Feofanova's gold medal winning jump.

[edit] 2003
2003 was another year of progression and saw Isinbayeva win the European Under 23 Championships gold with 4.65 m (in Bydgoszcz). She went onto break the world record clearing 4.82 m on July 13 at a meeting in Gateshead, England which had made her the favourite to take gold at the World Championships the following month, but lack of technique saw her only win bronze with Feofanova taking gold and Becker, this time, pipping her for the silver.

[edit] 2004
2004 saw the women's pole vault really start to mature as an event and during a meeting at Donetsk, Ukraine, Isinbayeva set a new indoor worlds best, with a height of 4.83 m only to see Feofanova increase this by a single centimetre the following week. The following month at the World's Indoor in March Isinbayeva broke this with a gold medal winning jump of 4.86 m beating reigning indoor & outdoor champion Feofanova into bronze with reigning Olympic champion Dragila taking silver.
June 27 saw Isinbayeva return to Gateshead and once again the world record mark was improved to 4.87 m. Feofanova bounced back the following week to again break the record by a centimetre in Heraklion, Greece.
On July 25 in Birmingham, England, Isinbayeva reclaimed the record jumping 4.89 m and five days later in Crystal Palace, London, added a further centimetre to the record.
The pole vault was one of the most eagerly awaited events at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece and although the competition did not reach the heights that were anticipated the rivalry between Isinbayeva and Feofanova brought the event alive. With all of the other events finished the whole crowd were focused on the pole vault.
When Feofanova failed at 4.90 m the gold medal was Isinbayeva's, and she then rubbed salt into her compatriots wound by attempting and clearing a new world record height of 4.91 m. She broke her own record later that year at the Memorial Van Damme in Brussels with a 4.92 m jump.

[edit] 2005
In July 2005, Isinbayeva broke the world record four times over three separate meetings. First in Lausanne, Switzerland, she added an extra centimetre to her own mark clearing 4.93 m. It was the 14th world record of Isinbayeva's career coming just three months after she broke her own indoor mark (4.89 m) in Lievin. Eleven days later, in Madrid, Spain, she added an additional 2 cm to clear 4.95 m. In Crystal Palace, London on July 22, after improving the record to 4.96 m, she raised the bar to 5.00 m. She then became the first woman pole vaulter to clear this metric barrier, achieving the mark with a single attempt. At the 2005 World Championships in Athletics, she once again broke her own world record, performing 5.01 m in her second attempt, and winning the competition.

[edit] 2006
At an indoor meeting on February 12 in Donetsk, Ukraine, Isinbayeva set a new indoor world record. She cleared 4.91 m. In August she won the gold medal at the 2006 European Athletics Championships in Gothenburg with a CR of 4.80 metres. This was the only gold medal missing from her collection until that time. In September she won the World Cup, representing Russia, in Athens.
Isinbayeva was crowned Laureus World Sports Woman of the Year for the 2006 season.

[edit] 2007

Isinbayeva being interviewed after her victory at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics in Osaka.
On 10 February 2007 in Donetsk, Ukraine, Isinbayeva broke the world indoor pole vault record again, by clearing 4.93 metres. It was Isinbayeva's 20th world record.[1]
On 28 August 2007 Isinbayeva repeated as world champion in Osaka at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics with a modest 4.80 m, then failing three times at setting a new world record at 5.02 m. Her competition did no better than 4.75 m (next 3 competitors).

[edit] 2008
During the indoor season, Isinbayeva set her twenty-first world record, clearing 4.95 metres on 16 February 2008 in Donetsk, Ukraine. A few weeks later, in Valencia, Spain, Isinbayeva won the World Indoor Championships over Jennifer Stuczynski. Both vaulters achieved the same height, with Isinbayeva winning by virtue of fewer unsuccessful attempts.[2]
On July 11, at her first competition of the season, Rome's Golden Gala, Isinbayeva broke her own world record, clearing 5.03 metres. This was her first world record outdoors since the 2005 World Championships. Isinbayeva stated that she had tried so many times at 5.02 metres and was still unsuccessful, her coach told her to change something and so she attempted 5.03 metres.[3] This record came just as people began to speculate her fall from the top of pole vaulting, as American Jennifer Stuczynski cleared 4.92 metres at the American Olympic Trials. Isinbayeva stated that this motivated her to maintain her reputation as the world's greatest female pole vaulter. A few weeks later, at the Aviva London Grand Prix, Isinbayeva and Stuczynski competed together for the first time of the outdoor season. Isinbayeva won the competition, with Stuczynski finishing second. Both attempted a new world record of 5.04 metres. Isinbayeva was tantalizingly close on her final attempt, with the bar falling only after Isinbayeva had landed on the mat.[4]
Isinbayeva broke her 19-day old world record on July 29, in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. She cleared 5.04 metres, her twenty-third world record, on her final attempt.[5]
At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing on August 18, Isinbayeva prolonged her reign over the Olympic Title, by clearing 5.05m, her 24th world record.[6]

[edit] Reasons for success
Setting 25 world records (15 outdoor and 10 indoor), staying virtually unbeaten since the Olympic Games of 2004 (winning nine straight gold medals in indoor and outdoor championships) and being elected IAAF Female Athlete of the Year in 2004 and 2005, Isinbayeva has established herself as one of the most successful athletes of her generation.
In August 2005, top UK pole vault coach Steve Rippon said to the BBC that "she [Isinbayeva] is one of the few female pole vaulters I look at and think her technique is as good as the men's. In fact, the second part of her jump is probably better than any male pole vaulter currently competing. She has a fantastic technique, she's quite tall (almost 5ft 9in) and she runs extremely well."[7]
These statements are confirmed by close observation of her jumps; in detail, Isinbayeva's high level of body control (courtesy of her gymnastics background) especially pays off in the so-called "L-Phase", where it is vital to use the pole's rebound to convert horizontal speed into height. Common mistakes are getting rebounded away in an angle (rather than vertically up) or inability to keep the limbs stiff, both resulting in loss of vertical speed and therefore less height. In Isinbayeva's case, her L-Phase is exemplary.

[edit] Personal life

Yelena Isinbayeva 2007
Her father, Gadzhi Gadzhiyevich Isinbayev, is a plumber and a member of a small (70,000-people strong) ethnic group of Tabasarans who mostly live in Dagestan. Her mother, a shop assistant, is an ethnic Russian. Isinbayeva also has a sister named Inna. Isinbayeva was born in a modest environment and remembers that her parents had to make many financial sacrifices in her early career.[8][9]
She has a bachelor's degree after graduating from the Volgograd State Academy of Physical Culture, and is currently studying for her master's. In the Russian club competitions she represents the railroad military team, she is formally an officer in the Russian army, and on August 4, 2005 she was given military rank of senior lieutenant.
She features in Toshiba ads promoting their entire product line in Russia.

1st - 4.83 m - Pole Vault Stars, Donetsk, Ukraine
1st - 4.86 m - World Indoor Championships, Budapest, Hungary
1st - 4.87 m - IAAF Gateshead, Great Britain
1st - 4.89 m - Birmingham International Meeting, Great Britain
1st - 4.90 m - British Grand Prix London, Great Britain
1st - 4.91 m - Summer Olympics, Athens, Greece
1st - 4.92 m - Golden League Brussels, Belgium
1st - 4.83 m - 2nd World Atletics Final, Monte Carlo, Monaco
1st - 4.87 m - Pole Vault Stars, Donetsk, Ukraine
1st - 4.90 m - European Indoor Championships, Madrid, Spain
1st - 4.93 m - IAAF Lausanne, Switzerland
1st - 5.00 m - IAAF London, Great Britain
1st - 4.79 m - IAAF Stockholm, Sweden
1st - 5.01 m - World Championships, Helsinki, Finland
1st - 4.93 m - Golden League Brussels, Belgium
1st - 4.74 m - 3rd World Athletics Final, Monte Carlo, Monaco
1st - 4.91 m - Pole Vault Stars, Donetsk, Ukraine
1st - 4.79 m - Norwich Union Grand Prix, Birmingham, Great Britain
1st - 4.72 m - Meeting Gaz de France du Pas-de-Calais, Lievin, France
1st - 4.80 m - World Indoor Championships, Moscow, Russia
1st - 4.76 m - IAAF Paris Saint-Denis, France
1st - 4.90 m - IAAF Lausanne, Switzerland
2nd - 4.62 m - IAAF Stockholm, Sweden
1st - 4.91 m - IAAF London, Great Britain
1st - 4.80 m - European Championships, Gothenburg, Sweden
1st - 4.81 m - Golden League Brussels, Belgium
1st - 4.75 m - 3rd World Athletics Final, Stuttgart, Germany
1st - 4.93 m - Pole Vault Stars, Donetsk, Ukraine
1st - 4.73 m - Norwich Union Grand Prix, Birmingham, Great Britain
1st - 4.90 m - Golden League Rome, Italy
1st - 4.80 m - World Championships, Osaka, Japan
1st - Golden League Brussels, Belgium
1st - 4.82 m - Golden League Berlin, Germany
1st - 4.95 m - Pole Vault Stars, Donetsk, Ukraine
1st - 4.75 m - World Indoor Championships, Valencia, Spain
1st - 5.03 m - Golden Gala, Rome, Italy
1st - 5.04 m - Super Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, Monaco
1st - 5.05 m - Olympics, Beijing, China

Yelena Isinbayeva - Official Webpage
SPIKES Hero profile on
IAAF profile for Yelena Isinbayeva
Isinbayeva, Yelena
Russian pole vaulter
3 June 1982
Volgograd, Russia
Retrieved from ""

Yelena Gadzhievna Isinbayeva (Russian: Елена Гаджиевна Исинбаева; born June 3, 1982 (1982-06-03) (age 26) in Volgograd) is a Russian pole vaulter. She is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist (2004 and 2008), was elected Female Athlete of the Year by the IAAF twice (2004 and 2005), and Sportswoman of the Year by Laureus. On July 22, 2005, she became the first female pole vaulter to clear 5.00 metres.
At the age of 26 Isinbayeva is seen as the best female pole vaulter in history. She has already been a 9-time major champion (Olympic, World outdoor and indoor champion and European outdoor and indoor champion).
Isinbayeva's current world records are 5.05 m outdoors, a record Isinbayeva set at the Summer Olympics Games in Beijing on August 18, 2008, and 4.95 m indoors, a record set at the Donetsk indoor meeting on February 16, 2008. The former was Isinbayeva's twenty-fourth world record.
Isinbayeva's mother is of Russian ethnicity, while her father is of Tabasaran ethnicity.