It started with an apology to her mum but ended with gold as the USA’s world leader Katie Nageotte held her nerve to win the women’s Olympic pole vault title on Thursday (5).
Never before has a pole vaulter – woman or man – missed twice at their opening height and then gone on to win the Olympic title. But that’s exactly what the Nageotte did in Tokyo, eventually soaring clear at 4.90m to get gold ahead of reigning world champion Anzhelika Sidorova and British record-holder Holly Bradshaw, with defending Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi just missing a medal in fourth.
“Sorry, Mom!” Nageotte said to the camera after needing all three attempts to get over that opening height of 4.50m. While she was visibly relieved, so too were her family members who were watching back in her home town in Ohio and had been sharing their reactions as part of the World Athletics second screen experience, Inside Track.
“It was the worst warm-up I have had in a long time and I did an ugly first few jumps,” Nageotte said later. “It took me a few heights to get into it, but I was just fighting and I finally found a smooth jump. It came together.”
The competition, held in slightly breezy conditions, got off to a shaky start when 10 athletes from the 15-strong field failed their first attempts. Sidorova and Bradshaw, along with Ukraine’s Maryna Kylypko, Finland’s Wilma Murto and Slovenia’s Tina Sutej, were the athletes to go clear first time. The next height – 4.70m – also proved a challenge and it split the field, taking it from 13 to four. Among those missing out was Cuba’s 2015 world champion Yarisley Silva, competing at her fourth Olympic Games and nine years after securing silver in London.
SOURCE: WORLD ATHLETICS