Tatyana Lysenko of Russia competes in the Women's Hammer Throw Qualifications on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 8, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Feature London, UK

Consistency pays dividends for Lysenko

All the usual suspects were there Betty Heidler, Zhang Wenxiu, Anna Wlodarczyk, Yipsi Moreno - in the women’s Hammer Final. But it was Ms Consistency, Tatyana Lysenko of Russia who took the gold, with 78.18 metres, in by far the best series of the night on Day Eight of athletics at London 2012.

According to Lysenko, the victory was not entirely unforseen. "I had trained hard and I was expecting strong results," she said afterwards, "but the Olympic Games are not like other competitions, the opponents are very strong. Getting a medal is not easy. I was not sure I could achieve that, but of course I was hoping.

"The gold medal is the dream of every athlete. I had a gold medal from the World championships (Daegu, 2011) and a silver medal from Barcelona (European championships 2010)".

Lysenko, 28, comes from the town of Bataysk, near Rostov-on-Don, in the far west of Russia, close to the Ukraine border and the Black Sea. She is part of a large family, with six brothers and two sisters, but is the only sporty one. She was a basketball player at school, but at the age of 16 was spotted by coach Nikolai Beloborodov, who suggested she switch to hammer throwing.

"It was coach Nikolai Beloborodov who found me and taught me the hammer ," says Lysenko. "That was his idea, not mine, to become a hammer thrower. And now I like it and I'm very thankful to him that he started this journey."

That journey thus far has realised a European gold medal from Gothenburg 2006 (and a silver in 2010), a World gold from Daegu last year, and now the ultimate, an Olympic gold. And with a new record too.

"I wanted to throw 78 metres," she said afterwards, "and I managed 78.18. The trainer was correcting me at every throw, helping me to do better."

Just as in her victory in Daegu last year, she dominated proceedings throughout the evening, with easily the best series, uncorking her best in round five, to beat Wlodarzcyk by over a half metre, with Heidler finally taking the bronze, following the protracted debate over the German’s originally measured but unrecorded fifth attempt.

All that remains for Lysenko is the retrieve from Heidler (79.42) the World record she once held. "I will try for the World record and work on that," she said, "but the record is now very far".

In common with virtually everyone at London 2012, athletes and onlookers alike, Lysenko has been captivated by the Olympic atmosphere. "The stadium is wonderful, the spectators amazing. I want to be a spectator and watch the rest of the Games, go for walks and explore London".

Of course, it always helps if you’ve won an Olympic gold medal. And the likelihood is that it’s not her last.

Pat Butcher for the IAAF