Yelena Isinbayeva sets world lead in first pole vault since 2013

Yelena Isinbayeva
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Two-time Olympic pole vault champ Yelena Isinbayeva, Russia’s most famous track and field athlete, competed for the first time since 2013 on Tuesday and cleared the highest height of any woman this year.

Isinbayeva, who took off 2014 and 2015 and early 2016 due to a pregnancy and then injury, cleared 4.90 meters to win the Russian Championship in Cheboksary.

She cleared 4.90 on her third and final attempt, .04 higher than the next-best woman in the world outdoors for 2016. Then she raised the bar to 5.07 meters, .01 above her 2009 world record, and failed in one attempt.

Isinbayeva needed to clear 4.50 meters by July 11 to be eligible for the Olympics (forgetting for one second the Russian track and field ban), because she had not previously competed during the Olympic qualification window.

Now, Isinbayeva can move forward with her plan to take action against the ban of Russian track and field from the Rio Games. The IAAF has said there is a “tiny crack” left open for individual Russian athletes to compete in Rio, just not under the Russian flag.

On Tuesday, the IOC also left the door open for Russian track and field athletes to potentially compete in Rio.

MORE: Five Russian stars who may miss Rio Olympics

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