Mariya Lasitskene reacts to her high jump win at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (© Getty Images)
With three world titles already to her credit, Mariya Lasitskene needed an Olympic gold medal to complete her resume.
The authorised neutral athlete achieved that goal on Saturday (7), clearing 2.04m to become champion in the women’s high jump at the Tokyo Games on the final night of competition at the National Stadium.
Australia’s Nicola McDermott won the silver with a best jump of 2.02m and Yaroslava Mahuchikh of Ukraine claimed bronze at 2.00m.
McDermott became the second Australian to win a medal in the event, matching the silver that Michele Brown won in Tokyo in 1964.
“To see Mariya get an Olympic gold medal after all these years, I just feel so honoured to be in the same competition,” McDermott said.
The 19-year-old Mahuchikh added to the silver medal she won at the 2019 World Championships in Doha. She’s the youngest Olympic medallist in the event since 1980, when Poland’s Urszula Kielan won bronze, also at the age of 19.
Lasitskene moved into first place when she cleared 2.02m on her first attempt. She had missed early attempts before clearing 1.96m, 1.98m and 2.00m.
"I don't remember anything at all. There is a fog on my mind," said Lasitskene. "You are making mistakes, you are telling yourself you don't have the right to be here. But then you go on and continue jumping. You tell yourself: 'I won't give it up, I don't want to. I can, I must.'"
McDermott was leading until she missed her first attempt at 2.02m. She cleared the height on her next attempt but missed three times at 2.04m.
“I started today’s warm-up jumps and thought: ‘Oh, I’m going to get a PB today',” McDermott said. “I knew I could sing out there and just have fun with all these women that I am so inspired by. I don’t think this is really going to hit until I get back to my room tonight.”
Ukraine's Iryna Gerashchenko finished fourth with a 1.98m clearance, while Australia's Eleanor Patterson was fifth with 1.96m.
US champion Vashti Cunningham finished sixth, also with a best jump of 1.96m. She missed twice at 1.98m and passed on her third attempt before failing to clear 2.00m.
Placing equal sixth was Safina Sadullayeva of Uzbekistan.
Steve Wilson for World Athletics
|WOMEN'S HIGH JUMP MEDALLISTS|
|🥇||Mariya Lasitskene ANA||2.04m|
|🥈||Nicola McDermott 🇦🇺 AUS||2.02m AR|
|🥉||Yaroslava Mahuchikh 🇺🇦 UKR||2.00m|