PARIS — Former world and Olympic champion Stacy Dragila ended her 14-year pole vaulting career with a second-place finish at the DecaNation athletics meet on Wednesday.

The 38-year-old American won gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, the first games in which women competed in the pole vault, and is a two-time world champion.

“It was great to be a pioneer in this sport,” Dragila told The Associated Press.

She cleared 14 feet, 7\ inches but missed three attempts at 14-11 to finish behind Russian Tatiana Polnova, who cleared that height.

“I was able to win a gold medal in Sydney when I never thought it would be possible for a woman to win an Olympic gold medal in the women’s pole vault,” Dragila said. “To be the first one to win the gold medal is something very special, and something that will ever be in the records book.”

After two seasons plagued by injury, Dragila –whose personal best is 15-10 — returned to the international athletics in 2008 but failed to make the American Olympic team for the Beijing games. At last month’s world championships in Berlin, she didn’t qualify for the pole vault final.

“I’m healthy and there are new chapters in my life, so I’m looking forward to that,” Dragila said. “I had a great career. I made a lot of friends on the circuit, I had great head-to-head competitions. Those things, I will remember for the rest of my life.”

The United States won the DecaNation, a meet that pits teams against each other in the decathlon’s 10 events.

The Americans won 13 events and finished with 136 points, with Derek Miles triumphing in the men’s pole vault after clearing 18-8\. He beat world silver medalist Romain Mesnil of France, who cleared 18-4{.

Germany was second overall with 105 points. France took third place with 91 points, finishing ahead of Russia, Italy, Spain and Finland.

by: Samuel Petrequin


Stacy Dragila
Stacy Dragila

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