Germany’s Silke Spiegelburg was the best European vaulter this summer in terms of height, having cleared a national record of 4.82m at the Samsung Diamond League Meeting in Monaco in July, but she didn’t get a solitary medal from the three major championships in 2012, having finished fourth at the World Indoor Championships, European Athletics Championships and Olympic Games!
By contrast. Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva may not be the force she once was and has lost the aura of invincibility that she once had but she was still the continent’s best representative at the two major global championships this year, winning at the World Indoor Championships and finishing third at the Olympic Games.
Into the bargain, and rather out-of-the-blue, she improved her own world indoor record to 5.01m in Stockholm in February.
Another vaulter to hit the heights indoors but leave her best form under cover was Great Britain’s Holly Bleasdale.
Bleasdale, who has just turned 20, and improved dramatically in late January and went over 4.87m, a height that only three others have ever surpassed either outdoors or indoors.
She went on to get the bronze medal at the World Indoor Championships but her outdoor season never quite took off in the same fashion although, to be fair, she did take her national record up to 4.71m at the UK Championships and finish sixth at the Olympics.
The European title in wet and windy conditions went to Czech Republic’s Jirina Ptácníková, one of three women over 4.60m. However, her first time clearance secured the gold medal.
Another gold medal was acquired by Swedish teenager and 2012 European Rising Star of the Year Angelica Bengtsson, who won at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona to complete clean sweep of age-group honours after winning everything on offer at youth and junior level since 2009.