(Greece) – Greek athlete Ekaterini Stefanidi won the gold medal in the women’s pole vault competition at the Rio Olympics this past Friday. This is the country’s first gold in the Track and Field competition at an Olympics event since 2004. This year’s Olympics pole vault competition had some controversy surrounding it as many of the Russian athletes, including Yelena Isinbayeva, were barred from the sport during these games. Isinbayeva won bronze at the 2012 Olympics in London and the gold medal at the Athens and Beijing Olympics before that. Untouched by the controversy, however, Stefanidi had a strong showing by clearing 4.85 meters in the final.
The American athlete, Sandi Morris, earned a silver medal and Eliza McCartney from Australia won a bronze medal. Morris also cleared 4.85 meters but due to her performance earlier in the competition, she won the silver. McCartney cleared 4.8o meters, earning her the bronze.
Stefinidi said to reporters concerning the doping scandal that the Russian team was in the middle of that, “Every single athlete in there would have wanted her to be there and have a chance to beat her. Things are how they are and we had nothing to do with it.” Stefanidi, a Greek, actually lives in the United States but opted to compete for the Greek team. Concerning her win she said that, “I can’t believe what’s happened. It’s amazing, the crowd were amazing, my parents are here. I’m glad to make my country proud.”
Despite living in the United States, Stefinidi is a native Greek and was born in Athens, Greece. She also competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London but it was her performance at the Rio Olympics that really made her stand out. She dominated the competition from the beginning and showed promise for winning a medal since the start of the event.