Olympics

Isinbayeva wins pole vault gold

Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva competes in the women's pole vault final at the World Athletics Championships in the Luzhniki stadium
Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva competes in the women's pole vault final.
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MOSCOW (AP)

Never count out Yelena Isinbayeva, especially when she is performing before a rapturous home crowd at the world championships.

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Five years after her last major outdoor pole vault victory, the Russian turned back the clock with a vintage performance to beat Olympic champion Jenn Suhr with a leap of 4.89 meters, her best outdoor effort in four years.

"From the greatest, you should always expect great things. Never count them out," bronze medalist Yarisley Silva of Cuba said. "You have to take a bow to her feats."

When Silva missed her final attempt, Isinbayeva set off racing across the track, fists pumping the air. Suddenly, all the troubles of the past half-decade fell off her broad, muscled shoulders.

"I had many difficulties, many injuries, and so I am proud of myself that I was able to overcome all these things and be world champion today," Isinbayeva said.

Right after clinching gold, she jumped over the advertising boards to hug Yevgeny Trofimov, the coach of her youth who returned to revive her career ahead of last year's London Olympics.

"He is a genuine coach," she said, crediting Trofimov with her comeback victory. "Just because of him, and just because I made the right decision to come back to work with him."

It paid off on Russia's biggest night of the championships.

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Isinbayeva even went for a world record at 5.07 meters but, as night closed in over the Luzhniki Stadium, that was too much, even for a woman who had set 28 of them, indoors and outdoors, over the last decade.

Still, at 31 she was jumping for joy like a teenager, somersaulting on the track, leaping in the arms of the mascot and hugging like never before, upstaging even Usain Bolt and his usual showboating antics.

Now, Isinbayeva is taking time off to start a family after the season, she said, but promises she could be back, possibly even for the 2016 Olympics.

However unlikely that would seem, few expected her to win gold in Moscow, too.

us track and field trials

GRIT AND BEAR IT

Olympic medals were worth getting a little dirty in track and field. VIEW PHOTOS.

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