Reaching new heights: Brazilian Thiago Da Silva soars to dramatic Olympic Games pole vault gold
The 22-year-old cleared an Olympic record 6.03 metres to hand the host nation a first athletics gold medal in Rio de Janeiro
Brazilian Thiago Da Silva won the Olympic Games pole vault gold medal in dramatic fashion on Monday to give the host country their first athletics gold medal of the Games.
World record holder Renaud Lavillenie of France took the silver medal.
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After three early failures, Da Silva passed on an attempt at 5.98 metres and pushed Lavillenie to 6.03, which the Frenchman failed twice before the Brazilian set an Olympic record by clearing that height.
The Brazilian crowd had been quiet early in the night, which began with a rain delay, but quickly got behind their 22-year-old countryman, cheering him wildly and booing Lavillenie as he prepared for his final jump.
Lavillenie gave a thumbs-down signal, an apparent request for quiet, but the crowd ignored him, exploding in cheers when Lavillenie missed his final jump.
Outside the quarter full stadium, shouts echoed through the darkened streets of Rio’s Jardim Botanico neighbourhood.
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It was Da Silva’s highest jump ever by 10cm, earning the host country’s second gold of South America’s first Olympics.
Da Silva took up the sport at the age of 14, making him a newcomer compared with Lavillenie.
The Frenchman made his first attempts at vaulting at the age of four, using a curtain rod, imitating his father, an amateur vaulter who built a set-up in the backyard for his son to practise.
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