US Pole Vaulter Katie Nageotte Wins Gold in Tokyo Olympics Finals

US Pole Vaulter Katie Nageotte Wins Gold in Tokyo Olympics Finals
USA's Katie Nageotte celebrates after winning the women's pole vault final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan, on Aug. 5, 2021. (Andrej Isakovic/AFP via Getty Images)

American Katie Nageotte has won gold for Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics women’s pole vault finals on Thursday.

The 30-year-old of Cleveland cleared 16 feet, 0.91 inches on her second attempt. It is the third time for the United States in the event’s history to take home gold.

“It hasn’t even begun to sink in yet,” Nageotte said after winning from Olympic world champion Anzhelika Sidorova of the ROC (Russian Olympic Committee) Team.

“This is the biggest dream I have ever had for myself. And here I am living the dream,” the U.S. gold-winner went on. “I will tell you when it finally sinks in. This is about as good as I could feel. We’ve all been through so much with COVID and everything, I’m really grateful.”

Nageotte, who also won the event at U.S. Olympic Trials in June, failed on her first two attempts of the competition at 14 feet, 76 inches, but improved from there to clinch her first major medal.

“It was the worst warm-up I have had in a long time and I did an ugly first few jumps,” Nageotte said. “It took me a few heights to get into it, but I was just fighting and I finally found a smooth jump.”

Sidorova, who won a gold medal at the 2019 World Championships, ended up second and took home silver after clearing 15 feet, 91 inches.

The Russian champion’s silver was the first medal in track and field at the Tokyo Games for the team, which is competing under the ROC name as a result of the country’s long-running doping scandal.

The bronze medal was earned by Holly Bradshaw of Team Great Britain.

“I’ll always have that Olympic medal now,” Bradshaw said. “I’ve dreamt of how I would feel as an Olympic medallist and it’s not sunk in. It’s a wave of emotions,” she added.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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