Kuzenkova at Last
At the fourth time of asking Olga Kuzenkova RUS finally hauled in the gold medal with defending champion Yipsi Moreno CUB in silver and the new world record record holder Tatyana Lysenko RUS in bronze.
It took some time for the medal places to become clear though. First you destroy the cage then throw 70 metres or you throw 70m then destroy the cage. Lysenko and Kuzenkova were taking it in turns, but were still having to give best to Moreno after the first three throws with just 58 centimetres separating them with the Cuban on top.
Then into the ring stepped Manuela Montebrun FRA. You often wonder what difference it makes when an enormous racket is being created on the far side of the stadium. Yelena Isinbayeva RUS had just set a vault world record and the stadium erupted one of those in a deep Finnish roars. Maybe it inspired the Frenchwoman because instead of flinching she flung the implement out to a leading 71.41m then consolidated in the next round with another 71m.
But then the Russian artillery arrived. Up stepped Lysenko and pulled out a 72.46. Chin deep in her track suit top, Montebrun have a nervous phew. Next it was Kuzenkova’s turn. Olympic champion, she has never won this title, finishing second on three occasions, but it is not for want of trying. Six turns and the hammer flew out to 74.03. Gold was in touching distance.
Moreno had been the early pacesetter and was not prepared to take this lying down. Defending champion and second to Kuzenkova in the Athens Games last year she entered the circle psyching herself up with endless chatter. Whatever she was saying it seemed to work and she went into silver with 73.08.
The attack was all to no avail, though, as Kuzenkova sealed victory with a final throw and season’s best of 75.10 and world gold was finally hers.