David Eulitt Associated Press Pole vaulter Jenn Suhr celebrates after clearing 15 feet, 7 inches, a height that gave her the gold medal and boosted the U.S. team.

Good words worth weight in gold

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 4C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012 - 8:07 am

LONDON – For the first time before a big meet, Jenn Suhr heard a positive message from her husband, Rick, who's also her coach.

While sending Jenn onto the field for the Olympic pole vault final Monday night, Rick told her nobody's unbeatable – not even Russian superstar Yelena Isinbayeva, the two-time champion and world-record holder.

And so, Suhr went out and proved him right, defeating Isinbayeva, winning the gold and giving a nice boost to the United States track and field team, which hasn't been getting many breaks at the London Olympics.

"Before I went out here, he said, 'You're going to win this,' " Suhr said. "I've competed 100 times, and that's not something he says."

Suhr vaulted 15 feet, 7 inches to defeat Cuba's Yarisley Silva, who cleared the same height but lost on a tiebreaker because she had one more miss in the competition.

More significantly, Suhr beat Isinbayeva, who failed to become the first woman to win the same individual track and field event at three consecutive Olympics. Isinbayeva settled for bronze with a vault of 15-5.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Angelo Taylor staggered to fifth place in the men's 400-meter hurdles, a race won by 34-year-old Felix Sanchez (47.63 seconds) of the Dominican Republic. Sanchez beat American Michael Tinsley to the line, as the United States took only one medal in an event it swept in Beijing.

Earlier, Americans Lolo Jones and Dawn Harper, the defending Olympic champion, survived the first round of 100-meter hurdles qualifying with world champion Sally Pearson of Australia.

Algerian middle-distance runner Taoufik Makhloufi was reinstated for the 1,500-meter final after he had been disqualified from the Olympics for allegedly not trying hard enough in the 800 heats.

Israelis remembered – The widow of an Israeli athlete slain during the 1972 Munich Olympics denounced the International Olympic Committee during a memorial to honor the dead, shouting "Shame on you!" for failing to offer a moment of silence during the Opening Ceremony.

Ankie Spitzer took the podium during the service for the 11 athletes and officials killed in a terrorist attack and pointedly directed her remarks to IOC head Jacques Rogge, who had spoken moments earlier and was present in the room, together with London organizing committee chairman Sebastian Coe.

Men's volleyball – David McKienzie scored 17 points, and the defending champion U.S. team clinched a top tournament seed with a win over Tunisia.

The 25-15, 25-19, 25-19 win set up a Wednesday quarterfinal against Italy.

Men's beach volleyball – Americans Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal were ousted from the tournament by Latvia's Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins 19-21, 21-18, 15-11.

Racewalking – Defending Olympic 50-kilometer champion Alex Schwazer was caught doping in Italy and has been removed from the team, the Italian Olympic Committee said.

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