Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva, born June 3, 1982 in Volgograd, is the youngest of them with her compatriot Svetlana Feofanova two years older and veteran American Stacy Dragila some twelve years her senior. At the world indoor championships in March 2004 Isinbayeva added the indoor world record to her outdoor one (4.86m indoor and 4.82m out) to lay down the challenge to her two peers. She only came to the discipline at the age of 14 but took part at the junior world championships in 1998, clearing 4m, some way off then world record holder Australia's Emma George at 4.59m. She improved rapidly however and was junior world champion in 2000 before moving up to senior competition. In 2002 she won a merciless struggle with Feofanova before losing out and settling for silver in the final of the European championships to Germany's Yvonne Buschbaum in Munich. But six weeks ahead of the 2003 world championships in Paris she established a new world record of 4.82m, therefore making her favourite for the world gold, but could only manage third behind winner Feofanova and Germany's Annika Becker. 2004 has seen the indoor world record beaten several times with Isinbayeva putting three centimetres on in February in Donetsk before Feofanova went 1cm higher a week later in Athens. Face to face at the Budapest indoor world championships in March the younger woman reclaimed her record and won gold while Feofanova contented herself with a bronze behind Dragila in second. In Hungary the youngster actually made a vain attempt at the symbolic 5m bar, perhaps just to rattle her opponents.
World Championships: Pole vault: 3rd (2003)
European Championships: Pole vault: 2nd (2002)
World Indoor Championships: Pole vault: 1st (2004), 2nd (2003)
World Junior Championships: Pole vault: 1st (2000)