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2008 Olympic Games Beijing - Women's High jump

 

 

Host City: Beijing, China Format: Top 12 and ties and all those clearing 1.96 metres advanced to the final.
Date Started: August 21, 2008  
Date Finished: August 23, 2008  
(Competitors: 32; Countries: 24; Finalists: 15)  
    Venue(s): Beijing National Stadium, Beijing
Overview by IAAF    2008_olympic_stadium.jpg
With 34 consecutive wins, World Champion Vlašić was everyone’s favourite, and when 2.01 was reached, she had the only clean slate to that height. She duly cleared that 2.01 first time, as did Chicherova. The two repeated their first-time clearances at 2.03, while reigning champion Slesarenko just missed out. Hellebaut, who had not jumped higher than 2.00 in 2007, cleared on her second attempt despite taking off slightly too far from the bar. At 2.05 Hellebaut attacked the bar and had her best jump of the night, soaring over first time without touching the crossbar. Later she said “the best jumps, you don’t think. You just do them. It was amazing to clear the bar.” Vlašić then failed, but came back well to clear on her second attempt. She never looked like clearing 2.07, and Hellebaut thus won Belgium’s first ever Olympic gold medal in athletics. The Croatian had some consolation with the highest ever non-winning mark.
       
Summary by Sports-reference.com      
One of the heaviest favorites in Beijing among the women was Croatian high jumper Blanka Vlašić. She had won 34 consecutive meets, and was the 2007 World Champion. In 2008 she had won all her Golden League meets. In the final, there were still six jumpers remaining at the lofty height of 2.01 (6-7). Four cleared, including Vlašić, who was perfect to that point, and was leading. She was joined by Russians Anna Chicherova, also with a first-attempt clearance, and Yelena Slesarenko, and well-known Belgian heptathlete Tia Hellebaut. Vlašić and Chicherova were again perfect over 2.03 (6-8), while Hellebaut needed two attempts to clear, and Slesarenko went out. But at 2.05 (6-8¾) Hellebaut sailed over on her first attempt for a PR, after Vlašić had missed once. She succeeded on her second attempt but neither could clear 2.07 (6-9½) and the gold medal was Hellebaut’s, the first for Belgium in athletics since 1964 (Gaston Roelants in the steeplechase). Hellebaut was a rare athlete who competed while wearing glasses.
 

Records

Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows.

World record  Stefka Kostadinova (BUL) 2.09 Rome, Italy 30 August 1987
Olympic record  Yelena Slesarenko (RUS) 2.06 Athens, Greece 28 August 2004

No new world or Olympic records were set for this event.

 
        Results        

The women's high jump at the 2008 Olympic Games took place on 21–23 August at the Beijing Olympic Stadium

The qualifying standards were 1.95 m (A standard) and 1.91 m (B standard).

Women's High Jump - FINAL

 

Now for a surprise that was a very big one. Who would have thought that Tia Hellebaut was going to become the last track gold medallist of the Beijing Olympic Games (the only other medal in Athletics still to be awarded is that in the men’s marathon)? Who would have thought that Tia Hellebaut was going to become the first ever Belgian woman to win an Olympic title in Athletics and the first Belgian of either sex to win gold at the Olympics since 1964!

Probably just two people. Herself and World champion Blanka Vlasic, the outstanding favourite for gold coming into these Games.

“I knew Tia would be a tough opponent,” said Vlasic. “I even told my coach before the final that I thought she was going to be a hard one to beat.”

And indeed Hellebaut, the reigning European champion and World Indoor Pentathlon champion equalled her own personal best and national record 2.05 with a superb first attempt which would prove the winning jump of these Olympics.

“I surprised myself today,” said Hellebaut. “I am really happy, I thank everyone who made this happen. I get a lot of support from my coach, my family, my friends.”

As it turned out, Vlasic’s only mistake up until 2.05, her first time try at that height, made her lose her 34 winning streak at just the worst time of the year.

“I am so tired,” said Vlasic. “There were lots of expectations, lots of pressure, I’ve had so much media hype, it was not easy to perform tonight. But I’m happy, I think I did a good job. Of course I wanted the gold medal but today was a good fight and I’m proud I was part of it.”

With 15 athletes qualified for tonight’s final, a record nine athletes were still in contention at 1.96 with the major casualty being World silver medallist Antonietta Di Martino.

As the bar was raised to 1.99, six stayed alive as World number 2 Ariane Friedrich of Germany failed to perform in a major championship for the second time of the year. She was joined by Ruth Beitia and Emma Green as the only three to bow out at that height.

Next height was 2.01 and again a record number of athletes were still in contention. The first to fail was US champion Chaunte Howard who would eventually finish in sixth having cleared 1.99 with her third attempt.

The next one out was World Indoor medallist Vita Palamar whose tactics didn’t pay off. After two failures at 2.01 she again failed badly at her last chance at 2.03 and had to settle for fifth.

The battle for the medals started at 2.01, a height which is usually seen as a winning one or at least enough for a medal. Never in Olympic history has 2.01 been left out of the podium.

Tonight was going to be a first, as in addition to Vlasic and Hellebaut the Russian duo of Yelena Slesarenko and Anna Chicherova also sailed over.

At 2.01m the standings read: 1. Vlasic, 2. Chicherova, 3. Hellebaut, 4. Slesarenko. Up until that moment, Vlasic had not one single failure, Chicherova had a third time scare at 1.99 from which she recovered to go over the next height the first time around, while Hellebaut and Slesarenko needed to jumps to clear 2.01.

Vlasic was the first clear at 2.03 and she did it with such a big margin that she jumped off the matt dancing to Pink’s ‘get the party started.’

To her surprise she didn’t know two other women were to join her in what she would hope was going to be an exclusive party. Chicherova went clear the first time around and Hellebaut took two tries but her second one hinted there would be more to come.

Defending Olympic champion Slesarenko had three failures and would not retain her title. Not only that, she would finish out of the medals.

For the first time in the history of the event, three women were still in contention at 2.05. It was game on.

Blanka was first up and failed her first attempt of the whole evening, certainly she didn’t expect it would cost her so much but it did. After Hellebaut cleared the first time around, Vlasic found herself chasing for the first time in the season. She did respond with a superb 2.05 second round effort but she needed more if she wanted gold.

It wasn’t going to be tonight. After performing superbly all night, Vlasic failed three times – quite badly – at 2.07. Hellebaut would be the champion tonight.

“After the World Indoor Championships, I was injured and I couldn’t run for 7 weeks so I wasn’t able to do too many competitions. But it’s ok because I need a lot of mental strength so maybe this one was the easiest competition,” explained Hellebaut.

“My technique was very good. Today I just thought ‘run and jump and it’s going to be fine.’”

A lot of questions were thrown at Vlasic. One of the real characters of our sport she responded: “Do you thing I didn’t do a good job today? I was prepared for everything. I was prepared for all the girls being able to jump 2.05. You cannot allow yourself to be surprised because it’s the Olympic Games and what happens happen.”

2.05 proved too much for Chicherova who added an Olympic bronze to her World silver medal from Osaka: “It is a pleasure to be on the podium with these great athletes. I am proud and happy with the bronze because tonight I could well have gone home with no medal.”

The last word has to be given to Hellebaut, winner of arguably the best High Jump competition at a major championship: “Blanka knows that with 2.05 I don’t need to apologise for winning gold.”

Famously the Belgian record holder had apologised when taking European gold on Kajsa Bergqvist’s home soil two years ago, tonight she did too good a job to feel sorry for second place.

Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF
High jump Women     Final 23 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 2.05     Tia Hellebaut Belgium BEL 16 Feb 78 NR
2 2.05     Blanka Vlašić Croatia CRO 8 Nov 83  
3 2.03     Anna Chicherova Russia RUS 22 Jul 82  
4 2.01     Yelena Slesarenko Russia RUS 28 Feb 82  
5 1.99     Vita Palamar Ukraine UKR 12 Oct 77  
6 1.99     Chaunté Lowe United States USA 12 Jan 84  
7 1.96     Ruth Beitia Spain ESP 1 Apr 79  
7 1.96     Ariane Friedrich Germany GER 10 Jan 84  
9 1.96     Emma Green Sweden SWE 8 Dec 84  
10 1.93     Marina Aitova Kazakhstan KAZ 13 Sep 82  
10 1.93     Antonietta Di Martino Italy ITA 1 Jun 78  
12 1.93     Iva Straková Czech Republic CZE 4 Aug 80  
12 1.93     Viktoriya Styopina Ukraine UKR 21 Feb 76  
14 1.93     Svetlana Shkolina Russia RUS 9 Mar 86  
15 1.89     Romana Dubnova Czech Republic CZE 4 Nov 78  

Women's High Jump - Qualification

The 32 women entered in the qualification of the women’s high jump must have wondered why the skies decided to turn against them (and all the others competing this morning) as for the first time since the opening of the Athletics competition at the Beijing Olympic Games a downpour descended on the Chinese capital.

As a result, officials decided to postpone the two qualification rounds by one hour and if the mats, the runway and the benches were still very wet when competition began at least the extremely heavy rain had now stopped.

Seeing the unfriendly conditions in such a technical event, all but four athletes including reigning World champion Blanka Vlasic decided to start at the 1.80m opening height.

Eventually, fifteen went clear at 1.93m and despite a qualification mark originally set at 1.96m it was the officials again taking centre stage as they decided to allow all 15 in the final and called it a day.

Four athletes had clean sheets. One to make no mistakes was European Indoor and outdoor champion Tia Hellebaut of Belgium who decided to focus only on the individual high jump event after taking a superb Pentathlon gold medal at the World Indoor Championships in Valencia this winter.

Defending Olympic bronze medallist Vita Styopina of the Ukraine, Spanish record holder Ruth Beitia and Marina Aitova of Kazakhstan were the other three to end their round with no crosses next to their name.

An outstanding pre-event favourite, Vlasic needed two attempts to go clear at 1.93m but when she did she made it with impressive margin leaving no doubts that she is in shape to add Olympic glory to her World Indoor and Outdoor titles.

“It was distracting because it gives you a hundred other things to think about,” said Vlasic about the weather conditions.

She was one of many to complain about the lack of an undercover area in the field, not that she blamed her one miss of the day on the rain.

“I’m in very good condition, but it was very difficult,” Vlasic explained. “It is all about equipment and I put my bag in the wrong corner and everything got wet.

“In these circumstances, it’s normal that things aren’t so easy. It’s nothing to worry about. It was tricky, a little hard to get the right distance of approach. I made it, and that’s the most important thing.” 

World silver medallist Antonietta Di Martina had a temporary scare at 1.80 but regrouped formidably to clear the three consecutive heights the first time around.

German champion Ariane Friedrich who improved her personal best to 2.03 this summer had a bad foul at 1.89 but that was obviously a misjudged attempt as she sailed clear the next time around and again first time at 1.93.

In the same group, World Indoor bronze medallist Vita Pilamara, World silver medallist Anna Chicherova and Under-23 European champion Svetlana Shkolina all needed two attempts to secure a spot in the final at 1.93.

However it wasn’t all fairy tale material for the Russians as defending Olympic champion Yelena Slesarenko was oh-so-close to not making the cut. After a first scare at 1.89, she failed her first two attempts at 1.93, both quite badly.

She went over with her last attempt but that was more of a lucky clearance as the bar kept on shaking long after she descended the mat.

“For the first time, something didn’t go right at all,” she declared.

The same fate awaited the 2005 World bronze medallist Emma Green who became the fifteenth and last qualifier with a third round clearance at 1.93.

The remaining qualifiers include US champion Chaunte Howard and the Czech duo of Iva Strakova and Romana Dubnova.

33-year-old Amy Acuff who was taking part in her fifth consecutive Olympic Games failed to advance four years after she finished fourth in Athens.

Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF

High jump Women     Qualification 21 August      
                 
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 1.93   Q Marina Aitova Kazakhstan KAZ 13 Sep 82  
1 1.93   Q Ruth Beitia Spain ESP 1 Apr 79  
1 1.93   Q Tia Hellebaut Belgium BEL 16 Feb 78  
1 1.93   Q Viktoriya Styopina Ukraine UKR 21 Feb 76  
5 1.93   Q Antonietta Di Martino Italy ITA 1 Jun 78  
5 1.93   Q Ariane Friedrich Germany GER 10 Jan 84  
7 1.93   Q Iva Straková Czech Republic CZE 4 Aug 80  
8 1.93   Q Chaunté Lowe United States USA 12 Jan 84  
8 1.93   Q Vita Palamar Ukraine UKR 12 Oct 77  
8 1.93   Q Svetlana Shkolina Russia RUS 9 Mar 86  
8 1.93   Q Blanka Vlašić Croatia CRO 8 Nov 83  
12 1.93   Q Anna Chicherova Russia RUS 22 Jul 82  
13 1.93   Q Emma Green Sweden SWE 8 Dec 84  
14 1.93   Q Romana Dubnova Czech Republic CZE 4 Nov 78  
14 1.93   Q Yelena Slesarenko Russia RUS 28 Feb 82  
16 1.89     Doreen Amata Nigeria NGR 6 May 88  
16 1.89     Mélanie Skotnik France FRA 8 Nov 82  
18 1.89     Svetlana Radzivil Uzbekistan UZB 17 Jan 87  
19 1.89     Amy Acuff United States USA 14 Jul 75  
19 1.89     Nicole Forrester Canada CAN 17 Nov 76  
21 1.89     Anna Iljuštšenko Estonia EST 12 Oct 85  
22 1.89     Zheng Xingjuan China CHN 20 Mar 89  
23 1.85     Karina Vnukova Lithuania LTU 27 Mar 85  
24 1.85     Sharon Day-Monroe United States USA 9 Jun 85  
24 1.85     Adonía Steryíou Greece GRE 7 Jul 85  
26 1.85     Nadezhda Dusanova Uzbekistan UZB 17 Nov 87  
27 1.85     Levern Spencer Saint Lucia LCA 23 Jun 84  
28 1.85     Yekaterina Yevseyeva Kazakhstan KAZ 22 Jun 88  
29 1.80     Noengrothai Chaipetch Thailand THA 1 Dec 82  
29 1.80     Ina Gliznuţa Moldova MDA 18 Apr 73  
  NH     Tatyana Efimenko Kyrgyzstan KGZ 2 Jan 81  
  NH     Romary Rifka Mexico MEX 8 Apr 73  
 
Detailed View
 

Qualifying round

Qualification criteria: 1.96 (Q) or at least 12 best performers (q) advance to the final.

Rank Group Name Nationality 1.80 1.85 1.89 1.93 Result Notes
1 B Marina Aitova Kazakhstan o o o o 1.93 q
1 B Ruth Beitia Spain o o o o 1.93 q
1 A Tia Hellebaut Belgium - o o o 1.93 q
1 B Vita Styopina Ukraine o o o o 1.93 q
5 B Antonietta Di Martino Italy xo o o o 1.93 q
5 A Ariane Friedrich Germany - o xo o 1.93 q
7 B Iva Straková Czech Republic o o xxo o 1.93 q
8 B Chaunte Howard United States o o o xo 1.93 q
8 A Vita Palamar Ukraine - o o xo 1.93 q
8 A Svetlana Shkolina Russia o o o xo 1.93 q
8 B Blanka Vlašić Croatia o o o xo 1.93 q
12 A Anna Chicherova Russia o o xo xo 1.93 q
13 B Emma Green Sweden o o o xxo 1.93 q
14 A Romana Dubnová Czech Republic o xo o xxo 1.93 q
14 B Yelena Slesarenko Russia o o xo xxo 1.93 q
16 A Doreen Amata Nigeria o o o xxx 1.89  
16 B Melanie Skotnik France o o o xxx 1.89  
18 A Svetlana Radzivil Uzbekistan o xo o xxx 1.89  
19 A Amy Acuff United States o o xo xxx 1.89  
19 B Nicole Forrester Canada o o xo xxx 1.89  
21 B Anna Iljustsenko Estonia o xxo xo xxx 1.89  
22 A Xingjuan Zheng China xo o xxo xxx 1.89  
23 A Karina Vnukova Lithuania o o xxx   1.85  
24 A Sharon Day United States xo o xxx   1.85  
24 A Antonia Stergiou Greece xo o xxx   1.85  
26 B Nadiya Dusanova Uzbekistan xxo o xxx   1.85  
27 B Levern Spencer Saint Lucia - xo xxx   1.85  
28 A Yekaterina Yevseyeva Kazakhstan o xxo xxx   1.85  
29 A Noeng-Ruthai Chaipech Thailand o xxx     1.80  
29 A Inna Gliznuta Moldova o xxx     1.80  
  B Tatiana Efimenko Kyrgyzstan xxx       NM  
  B Romary Rifka Mexico xxx       NM  
 

Final

Rank Name Nationality 1.85 1.89 1.93 1.96 1.99 2.01 2.03 2.05 2.07 Height Notes
1st Tia Hellebaut Belgium o o o o xo xo xo o x-- 2.05 NR
2nd Blanka Vlašić Croatia o o o o o o o xo xxx 2.05  
3rd Anna Chicherova Russia o o o xo xxo o o xxx   2.03 =PB
4 Yelena Slesarenko Russia o o xo xo xo xo xxx   2.01  
5 Vita Palamar Ukraine o o o xo xo xx- x   1.99  
6 Chaunté Howard United States o o xo xo xxo xxx   1.99 SB
7 Ariane Friedrich Germany o - o o xxx   1.96  
7 Ruth Beitia Spain o o o o xxx   1.96  
9 Emma Green Sweden o o o xxo xxx   1.96 SB
10 Marina Aitova Kazakhstan o o o xxx   1.93  
10 Antonietta Di Martino Italy o o o xxx   1.93  
12 Iva Straková Czech Republic o o xxo xxx   1.93  
12 Vita Styopina Ukraine o o xxo xxx   1.93  
14 Svetlana Shkolina Russia o xo xxo xxx   1.93  
15 Romana Dubnová Czech Republic o xo x-   1.89  
 
 

 

 

 

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