She has climbed the heights – literally – to greatness but one of Poland’s finest athletes is bowing out.
Tomorrow in her home town of Szczecin, Monika Pyrek will officially retire from track and field as she prepares for the next stage of her life.
One of the most consistent pole-vaulters of her time, Pyrek, 32, marries her agent and long-time partner Norbert Rokita on Saturday ahead.
But the legacy she leaves behind is immense.
Born in Gdynia, few athletes can lay claim to being among the main contenders at major championships in three different decades. But Pyrek did just that.
She made her debut at the European Athletics Championships in Budapest in 1998 when she was seventh and with it she set down a foundation where she won medals for eight years from 2001 onward, though never achieved her aim of gold.
Payek’s senior medal glory makes brilliant reading.
2001: World Championships (Edmonton), 3rd.
2002: European Athletics Indoor Championships (Vienna), 3rd.
2003: World Indoor Championships (Birmingham), 3rd.
2005: European Athletics Indoor Championships (Madrid), 5th; World Championships (Helsinki), 2nd.
2006: European Athletics Championships (Gothenburg), 2nd.
2008: World Indoor Championships (Valencia), 3rd.
2009: World Championships (Berlin), 2nd.
The European under-23 champion from Amsterdam in 2001 reached both major championships but failed to make the finals.
At the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki in June, she was 13th in qualifying with a best of 4.35m and at the Olympic Games in London, she was 15th in qualifying with 4.40m.
With a personal best of 4.82m, she is the fourth best European of all time and one of the continent’s great performers.