Bleasdale, who started the Olympics as one of the favourites to win the event, left the stadium on the verge of tears.

But the athlete, who took up the sport at the age of 17, was joyous later after her boyfriend, Paul Bradshaw, proposed to her.

Mr Bradshaw wrote on Twitter: “I have just proposed to Holly Bleasdale and she said yes! Best day ever!” She also went on the website to say: “Bradshaw proposed to me. Epic day.”

The 20 year-old from Preston, who has a personal best height of 4.87 metres indoors, managed only 4.45m before failing three times with the bar at 4.55m.

It put her in sixth overall as the competition entered its final stages with Jennifer Suhr, an American, eventually winning with a height of 4.75m.

It left Bleasdale facing the knowledge that the eventual winner took Olympic gold without beating her highest mark.

Bleasdale punched the air with relief and delight when she finally cleared 4.45m, but she was unable to steady herself from there, bailing out on her second attempt at the next height.

She said: “The conditions weren’t great, it was a really bad headwind.

“I’m really disappointed with how I did. I felt like I could have jumped around 4.70m but I struggled to cope with the conditions.”

The American Suhr took the pole vault gold medal last night.

Yarisley Silva, the Cuban, claimed silver after she also reached 4.75m. However, a failed effort at her opening height of 4.45m counted against her in the final standings.


Holly Bleasdale
Holly Bleasdale

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