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Jenn Goes For Gold

LONDON -- Back at the Olympic Stadium for another night of track and field. There's not nearly the buzz there was a night ago, when Usain Bolt won the 100-meter dash. But for Western New York fans, this is a big night. Fredonia's Jenn Suhr will compete in the women's pole vault final, which begins in about eight minutes.

When Suhr first began pole vaulting in 2005, she put together a list. On it were the names and heights of all the best vaulters in the country. Whenever she surpassed a woman's height, she crossed her name off the list. Then she went on to the international vaulters and did the same. For the last four years, there has been just one name not crossed off the list: Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva.

Suhr doesn't need to beat Isinbayeva's world record of 5.06 meters tonight. She merely needs to jump higher to dethrone the long-time queen of women's pole vaulting. Isinbayeva has won two straight Olympic gold medals. Suhr, who finished second to her in Beijing four years ago, is attempting to win her first. Suhr's career best is 4.92 meters (16 feet, 1 3-4 inches).

It's not necessarily a two-woman race, though. England's 20-year-old Holly Bleasdale has jumped 4.87 meters indoors. Only Suhr and Isinbayeva have jumped higher. Bleasdale should get a jolt from the enthusiastic home crowd here, which has lifted British athletes to 16 golds so far. Silke Spiegelburg of Germany could be a big factor. Anna Rogowska of Poland has jumped 4.85 meters.

The starting height is 4.30 meters. Only four of the vaulters will attempt it. The rest will pass. Suhr passed all the way to 4.55 meters in the qualifying round.


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