Stockholm, Sweden - Most of the nearly 10,000 spectators gathered in the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm on Thursday (23) to experience the 2012 edition of “XL-Galan” chose to stay on when the meet was all but over at 10 p.m. with just one athlete in one event remaining. The minority that did leave will certainly live to regret that decision.
Because that sole athlete remaining in action was pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva and the Russian capped her competition with a perfect clearance of 5.01m, one centimetre better than her own current World Indoor Record set in Donetsk three years ago!
Those that did leave prematurely might have been excused by the fact that Isinbayeva’s previous competitions this winter didn’t at face value signal that she was in 5m+ form: 4.70m in Volgograd on 21 January, 4.68m in Bydgoszcz on 8 February and 4.81m in Liévin 14 February. But anyone who paid reasonably close attention to Isinbayeva’s early vaulting last night in Stockholm knew that at least the current World lead of 4.88m (Jenn Suhr) was vulnerable.
Because Isinbayeva didn’t enter until 4.72m which she cleared in emphatic fashion on her second attempt and followed it with a huge clearance of 4.82m. That sealed the win as both the young Briton Holly Bleasdale and Cuban Yarisley Silva exited at that height - although the Cuban was quite close at least once. This despite having spent no less than 11 vaults at the four previous heights including the new national record of 4.72m.
Isinbayeva went on alone – just like in the good old days – and by making 4.92m on her third attempt she did get the world Lead position for this season. Thumbs up and smiles from “new old” coach Trofimov who obviously liked what he saw. A few minutes later he was even happier when – after a decent but not close first attempt – she sailed completely clear of the bar at the World record height of 5.01m.