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Steve Hooker Beijing 2008 Pole Vault Men

   

Steve Hooker

 

While the iconic Bird’s Nest stadium crowd in Beijing was still buzzing after the Jamaican 4x100m relay world record at the Olympic Games in 2008, an Australian was quietly going about his business on the way to his own landmark gold. As the crowd lauded the Usain Bolt-inspired quartet on their lap of honour , Steve Hooker was maintaining his focus superbly in an incredibly tight pole vault competition.


The flame-haired Western Australian, whose Commonwealth Games title on home soil two years previously had been his only major competition win to that point, showed composure again and again just as it seemed he faced elimination.

Even in qualifying Hooker lived on the edge. He entered the competition at 5.65m but only cleared on his third attempt.

Learning from his near-catastrophic mistake, Hooker confidently cleared 5.60m in the final before sitting it out until the bar had reached 5.80m.

Only Hooker, Russian Evgeny Lukyanenko and Ukraine’s Denys Yurchenko remained in the competition with the bar at 5.80m and again the Australian kept his supporters on tenterhooks.

After Lukyanenko cleared at the first attempt, Hooker made his rivals wait until his third attempt before soaring over the bar. Yurchenko, who in fact never jumped again in the contest, watched from the sidelines as he pondered his options with a hamstring injury dominating his thoughts.
The tension was cranked up further as both Hooker and Lukyanenko, effectively the only athletes remaining, cleared 5.85m at the third attempt.

With the Jamaican relay furore causing a huge distraction in the stadium, the two kept their focus superbly.

Lukyanenko then failed at 5.90m three times and it was left to Hooker to assess the scale of the task confronting him.

Hooker exhaled a huge gasp of air on the runway and hurtled down the track towards the bar.
The green and gold-clad Hooker sailed over the bar, plunged into the landing mat with his head in his hands before running to his trackside entourage in a state of disbelief.

The gold was his, the first track and field title for Australia since Cathy Freeman’s win in Sydney 2000 and the first by an Austrlalian man since Ralph Doubell won the 800m 30 years earlier in Mexico City.

 
   

43 Highlights

  • Opening Ceremony
  • Katerina Emmons - women’s 10m air rifle
  • Salukvadze, Pederina praised for gesture
  • Dutch end long wait for relay gold
  • Korean archery domination continues
  • Aussies edge Americans in scintillating relay
  • India's first individual gold medal
  • Coughlin again thwarts fast-finishing Coventry
  • Benjamin Boukpeti
  • Rice hits golden hat-trick in 4x200m relay
  • Phelps rewrites Olympic record books
  • China wins maiden team gymnastics gold
  • Steffen completes comeback with golden double
  • Andrunache emerges from Ignat’s shadow
  • The oldest winner of the women’s table tennis singles
  • Lightning Bolt electrifies Bird’s Nest
  • Roger Federer
  • British foursome continue Redgrave’s legacy
  • Zagunis leads U.S. clean sweep in sabre
  • Guo glitters in Water Cube
  • Rafael Nadal
  • Fraser leads unique Jamaican treble
  • Rebecca Romero
  • Reborn Taylor takes second hurdles title
  • Incredible Lezak puts Phelps on road to eight golds
  • Hoy joins cycling greats
  • Liukin follows in father’s footsteps
  • Jones heartbreak evokes Devers as Harper takes gold
  • IOC’s helping hand guides Nikpai to bronze
  • Bolt overcomes Johnson’s legendary 200m mark
  • Japan rock U.S. with softball win
  • Chausson, Strombergs grab first BMX golds
  • Campbell-Brown retains 200m crown
  • Steve Hooker
  • Jamaican foursome break world record
  • Perfect Walsh, May-Treanor star on the sand
  • Hellebaut raises the bar in battle with Vlasic
  • Korea ends baseball’s Olympic era with Cuban upset
  • Hungary secure stunning water polo hat-trick
  • Party atmosphere as curtain drawn on Beijing
  • Kanayeva waltzes to rhythmic gold
  • Mighty France thwart giantkillers Iceland
  • US restores basketball pride