France’s Vanessa Boslak has had a nightmare three years when at times she never imagined she would ever see a pole vault pit in her life again.

In 2009 her athletics life was put on temporary hold when she went under the surgeon’s knife for a knee injury.

Unfortunately, complications set in that led to her disappearance from the world of athletics and a frustrating familiarity with doctors and hospitals.

“I was going crazy,” said Boslak. “At the beginning of my injury I wanted to be operated on as soon as possible. Afterwards, I had to find a solution because the pain would not go away.”

During those three years represented by a blank in her career statistics, Boslak admits, not surprisingly, that she might “have to find something else to do”. But at the back of her mind was an equally persistent thought: “Even injured, I thought I would do what I could to get to London.”

Finally, this winter she made her reappearance and how! After a tentative indoor season when she got back to a reasonable height of 4.52, she went to the world indoor championships in Istanbul and came away with the best get-well-soon gift – a silver medal.

Not only that, she cleared a height no less than 18cm over her previous best for 2012. Boslak was back!

“It is five years since I cleared 5.70. For three years the priority was walking normally not sport. After four operations things started to improve in June 2011. Now it is like a dream.”

With the Olympics in the offing against all expectation, Boslak admits her outlook has changed: “This is a second chance and even though the pressure is the same, I am approaching the Games differently.”

That became clear in Istanbul. Going into the championships without expectation was new for her: “I got to Istanbul without a care in the world, I was one of the least good there. It was the first time I went into a competition just for pleasure. And it worked. I am going to try and do the same thing in London.”

Boslak’s familiarity with the Olympics started when she stayed up all night to watch fellow-countryman, Jean Galfione, lift the Olympic title in Atlanta. Then when she walked into the stadium in Athens as an athlete in her own right she was overawed by the experience. London will be her third Olympics and the one she will savour the most.

“I want to be even better this summer,” she promises. “You never know.”


Vanessa Boslak
Vanessa Boslak

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