Olympic review: Athletics
Track and field in London
Russia'a golden pace at London Olympic stadium was set by Yulia Zaripova who proved to be the fastest runner in women's 3000m steeple chase final. the reigning world champion in this dicipline Zaripova displayed the qualities of a true leader as she headed the race from the first minutes and didn’t relinquish this lead until the finish.
Russia’s star Zaripova stopped the clock at 9 minutes 6.72 seconds and added the most prestigious title to gold medals from world and European championships.
Russia's second gold came from a high jumper Ivan Ukhov who left all of his opponents far behind including the defending champion Andrey Silnov. Ukhov stumbled at 2 meters 29 cm but managed to clear that height on second attempt and after that he was practically immaculate moving the bar to 2.38cm.
Actually Ivan was the only athlete who coped with 2.36 and it would have been enough for the victory, but the American high jumper Eric Kynard who had faltered at 2.36 put his two remaining attempts to 2.38.
Season’s leader Ivan met the challenge and responded with a great jump on this height making the US athlete move his last attempt to 2 metres 40cm.
It was difficult to believe that Eric Kynard will tumble over the bar as his personal best amounts to 2.34. And the miracle didn’t happen, Kynard’s final attempt was unsuccessful.
So Ivan Ukhov claimed victory in London, Eric Kynard of the USA settled for silver and three different athletes from Canada Great Britain and Qatar shared the third place.
Russia's third gold in track and field was earned by Natalya Antyukh who created a huge sensation by winning the women's 400 metre hurdles. The 31 year old was almost caught by her rival Lashinda Demus of the USA but Natalya withstood the pressure to add the second Olympic award to her name.
By the way, the Russian runner switched to hurdles from the regular 400 meter distance. And actually that turned out to be a turning point in her career as on the 8th of August she put her name into Olympic record book by clinching gold in London.
Antukh outran all of her competitors in style clocking the time of 52 minutes 70 seconds and setting her new personal best in the process. American athlete Lashinda Demus challenged Antukh result on the final straight but she failed to finish first in this race.
Miserable 7 hundredths of a second separated the runners in the standings: Antukh grabbed gold, Demus took silver and Zuzana Hejnova of Czech Republic was third with a nice result of 53.38 seconds.
By the way Olympic champion Natalya Antukh beat her personal best by almost a quarter of a second and she did it at the main start of her life
The triumph of Tatyana Lysenko stands apart from all the victories taken by her compatriots. This brave woman with an unbending will and eternal power spent two years of isolation due to the doping scandal and she managed not only to come back to sport but also win the most prestigious title that exists in athletics.
In London she set a new Olympic record of 78.18 and deservingly won gold.
And now let's hear from the 2012 Olympic title holder who had this to say about her achievements in the capital of Great Britain.
Congratulations on splendid performance in London? How do you feel after winning the Olympic gold?
Thank you for congratulating me. Really this was an amazing season for me and I'm very happy to finish it on such a positive note. Honestly I haven't yet realized that I won the Olympics, maybe later I will understand what I did in London. I want to thank all of people who helped me to prepare for the Games, I had a perfect team with excellent specialists. And of course my victory is the result of their work.
What are your plans for the next season?
Next summer Moscow will host world outdoor championships and of course this will be number one competition for me. I will concentrate my efforts on getting ready for this tournament. Of course a gold medal at the Olympics means also increased responsibility, now I'm visiting various schools where I'm telling the kids the story of my Olympic success. Being their idol I want to set a good example for them and inspire these small kids to achieve high goals in their lives.
What can you say about team spirit among Russian athletes?
Of course we support each other and it helps a lot during the competition. We have a close-knit team where every member is ready to lend his shoulder if necessary. I'm not only talking about our athletics squad, representatives of other disciplines came to stadium to charge us forward. I may say that we were a big sport family in London. We congratulated each other on victories regardless of the fact whether we are acquainted or not. Just we saw people in Russian uniform and it was enough for saying hello and wishing good luck.
5th gold - Anna Chicherova plus Svetlana Shkolina -bronze women's high jump
6th gold Sergey Kirdyapkin - men's 50k race walking
7th -Elena Lashmanova - gold Olga Kaniskina - silver women's 20km race walking
8th Maria Savinova -gold Ekaterina Poistogova - bronze - women's 800m
Russian athletes harvested total of 8 gold 5 silver and 5 bronze medals at the Olympic stadium in London
Speaking of the Russian achievements in London we can't skip a bronze medal won by the prominent athlete, two-time Olympic champion Elena Isinbayeva who did everything in her power to win her third Olympic title.
Olympic height appeared to be unattainable for an athlete who set the world record 27 times during her professional carrier.
Elena cleared the height of 4 metres 70cm, but unfortunately faltered at 4.75 and 4.80. Nevertheless Isinbayeva earned an Olympic bronze at her FOURTH Olympic tournament. She is the legend and the this relative failure in London couldn’t lessen her contribution to the development of the world sport.
Victory in this athletics event was taken by the US pole vaulter Jennifer Suhr who coped with the height of 4.75 on her second attempt. Silver went to Yarisley Silva of Cuba.