Yelena Isinbayeva, in London, on Monday
London: Russian pole vault legend Yelena Isinbayeva said that she had postponed plans to retire as she finished with Olympic bronze after an injury-hampered preparation for the London Games.
The 30-year-old, who was foiled in her bid to seal a historic hat-trick of Olympic titles, on Monday said she was not prepared to end her career after settling for third place between American Jennifer Suhr and Cuba’s Yarisley Silva. “If I thought I was going home with the bronze, I might not have come. I’m always fighting for the gold,” Isinbayeva said.
“But the bronze medal is tasteful, too,” beamed the Volgograd-born vaulter, who has long dominated the event and whose lissom looks have combined with her ability to make her as one of the most recognisable faces of global athletics.
She finished third here with a best of 4.70m as Suhr took gold with 4.75m on countback from Silva in a competition made tricky by rainy conditions. “This bronze medal is like a gold, because in the past three years from Beijing through to London, I have had a lot of difficulties to face,” Isinbayeva said.
In men’s 400 metres, 19-year-old Kirani James powered to gold in the to win his nation’s first medal of any colour and break the Americans’ 28-year stranglehold on the event.
In cycling, Chris Hoy set a British record with his sixth gold medal, defending his keirin title to finish off a dominating track cycling programme for the home nation. Britain won seven of the 10 gold medals awarded at the London Velodrome to match its haul from the Beijing Games. It also won a silver and a bronze to finish with nine medals overall.
Hoy was briefly overtaken by Maximilian Levy on the final lap of the eight-lap keirin, but pulled even with his German rival on the final corner and out-sprinted him to the finish line. He was briefly overtaken by Maximilian Levy on the final lap of the eight-lap keirin, but pulled even with his German rival on the final corner and out-sprinted him to the finish line.
Hoy’s six gold medals broke a tie with rower Steve Redgrave and made Hoy the first rider to defend a keirin Olympic title. He also matched fellow British cyclist and Olympic time trial champion Bradley Wiggins with seven overall medals, also a record for Britain.
Anna Meares of Australia though spoiled the British party winning the gold in the women’s sprint 2-0 over defending champion Victoria Pendleton and settling for good a decade-long rivalry. It was sweet revenge for Meares, who lost to the British rider in the final four years ago in Beijing. She denied Pendleton a third gold medal, which would have made her the most successful British female athlete at the Olympics.
Feng Zhe showed off his mastery of the parallel bars to seize the Olympic gold medal for China. He produced a solid swinging exhibition incorporating a number of impressive somersaults, twists and handstands to earn 15.966 as all of his main rivals fluffed their routines.
Brothers Kazuhito and Yusuke Tanaka had raised the possibility of completing a Japanese one-two after earning the top two qualifying scores but both wobbled and wavered across the bars on Tuesday and left empty handed after finishing fourth and seventh respectively.
Dorian Van Rijsselberge of the Netherlands wrapped up a dominating regatta by winning the Olympic gold in men's windsurfing. He had clinched gold on points but needed to make it around the course in the medals race to make it official. He did it with style, skimming across the waves on his RS:X board and finishing first. Nick Dempsey of Great Britain took the silver and Poland's Przemyslaw Miarczynski the bronze.
And, Marina Alabau of Spain won the gold in women's windsurfing, in the discipline's final race in the games. She came into the medals race with a 14-point lead and preserved it by finishing first. Windsurfing got the heave-ho from the line-up for the 2016 Rio Olympics in a vote in May, replaced by kiteboarding. The International RS:X Class Association filed a legal challenge last week against the International Sailing Federation.