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Yelena Isinbayeva: biography

Yelena Isinbayeva is a Russian pole vaulter and the current World Record holder and only woman to ever clear 5m. She has recently taken a year off the sport to re-energize but is now back for a full 2011 season before the 2010 Olympics.

Beginnings

Born on 3 June 1982, Yelena Isinbyeva was originally a gymnast in her hometown of Volgograd. However at 15 she eventually left the sport as she was deemed to be too tall to compete. When she left gymnastics it was suggested she might try pole vaulting and since then she has never looked back winning World & Olympic titles in her short but illustrious career so far.

Career

Isinbyeva's first major competition came at just 16 where she vaulted to victory with a height of 4 meters in the World Youth Games held in Moscow. Even more impressive was the fact that this was only her third competition ever after taking up vaulting just 6 months before. A year later she jumped the same height at the World Junior Championships but this time it left her off the podium by just 10 cm. She won a second World Youth Gold in 1999 clearing 4.10 meters and in 2000 she won the Gold at the World Juniors. That same year pole vault made its debut at the Sydney Olympics. Yelena didn't make it out of the qualifying rounds but it was all experience. In 2003 she made a massive improvement by clearing 4.65 meters in the European Under 23 Championships to take the gold and later that year she set her first World Record clearing 4.82 meters making her favorite to take the Gold medal at that year's World Championships. She eventually won the Bronze medal with team mate Feofanova taking the Gold. She made up for that disapointment though by beating the world record a number of times the same year with it eventually standing at 4.89 meters at the end of the season. Since then she has gone on to win 2 Gold medals at both the Athens and Beijing Olympics and 5 World Championship Golds 3 indoors and 2 outdoors. She took 2010 out to rest after a very hard few years but is now back competing in 2011 and looking to retain her World title after not clearing a height at the World Championships in Berlin and has London 2012 firmly in her sights.

Achievements

Yelena Isinbyeva is the current pole vault World Record holder after clearing
5.06 meters in Zurich 2009. She also has many senior achievements to her name including GOLD Olympics: Athens, Beijing
World Championships Outdoors: Helsinki, Osaka, Budapest, Moscow, Valencia

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