-- The Russians at the top of women's pole vaulting apparently see no ceiling. For the past two years, since wrenching the sport's crown from American Stacy Dragila, Svetlana Feofanova and Yelena Isinbayeva have danced as much as they have competed. They trade world records like spectators exchange Olympic pins.
So it was no surprise Tuesday night when the Olympic women's pole vault competition blossomed from a fight for gold to a quest for a world record in the event, the ninth of the year.
For those counting at home, Feofanova leads in world records 10-8. But Isinbayeva -- as of Tuesday -- leads in Olympic gold medals 1-0.
Isinbayeva missed just two jumps all night and eventually succeeded at 16 feet 11/4 inches, breaking the world mark she set in London on July 30. That mark had broken the record she set five days before, which had broken the record Feofanova set three weeks before that, in response to a record Isinbayeva set eight days earlier.
The Olympic Stadium crowd erupted when Isinbayeva achieved the new record, even though her attempt took place after midnight and with every other competition long finished.
No Medals Detected
Americans Monique Hennagan, DeeDee Trotter and Sanya Richards hoped to finish back-to-back-to-back in the women's 400-meter final, and they did. The only problem: They finished behind Bahamian Tonique Williams-Darling, who won the gold (49.41), Mexico's Ana Guevara (49.56) and Russian Natalya Antyukh (49.89).
Hennagan finished fourth in 49.97, followed by Trotter (50.00) and Richards (50.19).
"I kind of got out of my race plan a little bit," Hennagan said. "I'm really happy because I've come a long way, but I was right there so it kind of hurts. Close but no cigar. I'm happy, I can't complain, I've had a wonderful season, it just wasn't meant to be."
No Repeat for Taylor
American Angelo Taylor, the 2000 Summer Games champion in the 400 hurdles, ended a sub-par season with a disappointing finish. Taylor, who surprisingly won the Olympic gold in 2000 running from Lane 1, failed to advance to the final. Taylor finished fourth in his heat in a time of 48.72 seconds, well below his season-best time of 48.03 and personal best of 47.50.
"I messed up," Taylor said. "I had it and I messed up."
Sydney silver medal winner Hadi Soua'an Somaily of Saudi Arabia was also eliminated. . . .
It came as no surprise to anyone that Shawn Crawford and Justin Gatlin sat at the top of the results summary for the 200-meter quarterfinals. Crawford advanced with a time of 19.95 seconds and Gatlin finished in 20.03 seconds. American Bernard Williams, who tied for the fastest qualifying time of the first round, posted the 10th-best time of the night, 20.40. . . .
American sprinter Allyson Felix, 18, looks ready to make a run at a gold medal in the 200 Wednesday night. In Tuesday night's semifinals, Felix blasted to a significant lead before slowing down to take the heat in 22.36 seconds. Muna Lee, 22, grabbed the last qualifying spot for the final, finishing fourth in 22.69. In the other semifinal, Jamaicans Veronica Campbell (22.13) and Aleen Bailey posted the evening's best times (22.33).
Fazekas Loses His Gold
The IOC announced that it had disqualified Hungarian discus thrower Robert Fazekas from the Games and would not award him a gold medal even though he placed first in the discus final. Fazekas refused to provide a complete urine sample to drug-testers after the final, leading the IOC to speculate in its decision that he might have provided urine other than his own from a hidden device. It was the second time in two days the IOC has stripped a gold medal; Russian shot putter Irina Korzhanenko lost hers after testing positive for an anabolic steroid.
The IOC also announced the disqualification of high jumper Aleksey Lesnichiy from Belarus for a positive test for the prohibited anabolic agent clenbuterol. Lesnichiy claimed the positive resulted from having taken cough medicine.