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Yelena Isinbayeva: A Top Athlete

The International Association of Athletics Federation has named Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia as the IAAF 2008 World Athlete of the Year for a third time. The title was awarded to her previously in 2004 and 2005, and the 26 year-old multi-award winning beauty is widely considered to be the best female pole vaulter in history, a reputation earned through hard work and dedication to her chosen sport.

Yelena has won two Olympic Gold Medals for pole vaulting, one at the 2004 Athens Olympics and the other at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. On 22 July 2005, she became the first female pole vaulter ever to clear 5 meters. Her current outdoor record is 5.05 meters, which was set at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, breaking her own previous record, while her indoor record of 4.95 meters was set in February 2008 at the Donetsk indoor meeting.

Yelena Gadzhievna Isinbayeva was born in Volgograd in Russia on 3 June 1982. She started training as a gymnast at the age of five in her hometown and continued to do so until she was 15 years of age, and too tall for competitive gymnastics. Having chosen to pursue pole vaulting as a sport, at the age of 16 Yelena won her first victory during the 1998 World Youth Games in Moscow with a height of 4.00 meters. She took her second gold medal in 1999 at the World Youth Championships is Bydgoszcz, Poland, and claimed further gold medals at the 2000 World Juniors and the 2001 European Junior Championships.

Yelena’s first senior championship medal was a silver, claimed at the 2002 European Championships. In 2003 she won gold with a height of 4.65 meters in the European Under 23 Championships, and just after her 21st birthday, Yelena broke her first world record in Gateshead, England, clearing a height of 4.82 meters. The following years saw a string of achievements as Yelena went all out to better her best, which she continues to do.

Expressing her appreciation for the IAAF 2008 World Athlete of the Year award, which includes a trophy and an amount of $100,000 in prize money, Yelena went on to reveal that her goal is to defend her title at the 2012 London Olympics. Having previously broken the world record twenty-four times, Yelena has set her sights on breaking ten to fifteen world records in the future.

While always conscious of the competition presented by fellow pole vaulters, Yelena believes that she is her own main rival, putting stress on herself to win. She admits that waiting for her turn to compete is difficult and she tries to cut herself off from the activity around her, covering her face with a towel and thinking about nice things. She is also a realist in that she believes that people will remain interested in her as long as she is a star at what she is doing, and will very likely forget her when she is not in the limelight. Whether that will be the case or not remains to be seen, but right now Yelena Isinbayeva is one of the most successful athletes of her generation and remains dedicated to her sport, continually pushing her own boundaries and reaching for success.


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ricardo kaka - 2009-09-02 00:37:57


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