Rio Olympics 2016: Pole vaulter Alana Boyd fourth on count back

Alana Boyd jumped as high as she had ever jumped, give or take a centimetre. She jumped as high as her dad had ever jumped in an Olympics. She jumped as high as the bronze medallist. But she did not win a medal.

Alana Boyd finished fourth. She was denied by the cruellest of judges, the niggardly count back.

The margins by which these things are decided, between the idea of pass and fail, winner and loser, medallist and also ran are decided by such wafer thin propositions.

Alana Boyd cleared 4.8m in the pole vault with her second attempt. Her best ever jump, the national record, was one centimetre greater than that, so to be certain of a medal she needed to jump higher again. She needed to clear 4.85m.


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