Born-to-vault: Vicky Parnov eyes the prize

POLE vaulter Vicky Parnov has a strong athletic pedigree. She is the niece of Sydney Olympics pole vault silver medallist Tatiana Grigorieva, her father and coach, Alex Parnov, is a former world-class vaulter, her grandmother Natalya Pechonkina won bronze for the USSR in the 400m at the 1968 Olympic Games and her younger sister, Liz, is already in the Australian team for London.

But at the Australian athletics championships starting today in Melbourne, Parnov will jump only for herself.

After missing out on qualifying for London at the Olympic trials earlier this year, this is her last chance to make the team domestically.

“I felt pretty ready for trials, but for some reason the weather and stuff didn’t seem to come together as I had hoped,” Parnov, 21, said from Perth. “But I feel pretty good. I’ve been training hard and everything has been going well, so I am just going to see what I can do.”

Parnov must jump 4.5m to make the cut; a fraction higher than her personal best of 4.4m, which she hasn’t reached since 2007. So far, her best jump this year is 4.35m. If she doesn’t qualify today, she has until June 11 to make the height but will have to do it in Europe.

Parnov will fly to Europe in the next few weeks with training partners Steve Hooker, Alana Boyd and sister Liz.

Parnov’s Olympic dream started the moment Grigorieva safely flicked the end of her golden ponytail over a 4.56m high bar to win silver at the Sydney Games.

“Pretty much since that moment, watching my aunty compete,” Parnov said. “I said to my Dad: ‘I really want to start training now, properly.’ ”

Her Olympic dream has taken a new form; to walk into the Olympic stadium with Liz by her side.

“It would be really amazing and just a great feeling to do it with my sister by my side,” Parnov said.

“I don’t think that happens very often. I’m so happy for her. She is my best friend and I don’t have any other feeling but happiness for her making the team. I still have an opportunity to make it but she’s done her job. It’s all on me now.”



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Vicky Parnov

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