Peerless Isinbayeva heads for new heights
By Alison Wildey
LONDON (Reuters) - After falling out of love with the pole vault, Yelena Isinbayeva is back at the peak of her powers as she bids to become the first female track and field athlete to win three successive Olympic golds in what is likely to be her last Games.
The peerless Russian, with 28 world records to her name, is brimming with confidence after overcoming the problems with form that led her to take an 11-month sabbatical in 2010.
"In London, my main competitor will be myself because I know how high I can jump and I know that height is almost impossible for my rivals," the 30-year-old, who has vaulted 14 centimeters higher than any other woman, said earlier this year.
"My coach says that my potential is 5.10 and higher."
Isinbayeva signaled her return to the dizzy heights of the event in February with an indoor world record of 5.01 meters to out-jump her opponents in Stockholm by 29 centimeters.
She then needed just two jumps to win the world indoor championships in Istanbul, her first major title since the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"I am so happy as if it was the first time," she said of the victory in Istanbul. "The last three years showed me how important it is for me to win."
Unrivalled since setting her first world record of 4.82 meters in Gateshead, England, in 2003, Isinbayeva has soared higher and higher in her pursuit of records and medals, winning six world titles and two Olympics. Continued...