It’s Olympic BRONZE for Holly Bradshaw after dramatic final
Euxton pole vaulter Holly Bradshaw won Olympic bronze in the heat of a fiercely contested final in Tokyo.
Bradshaw made it down to the final four but failed at her three attempts at 4.90m and had to settle for third place.
USA’s Katie Nageotte was crowned Olympic champion with Anzhelika Sidorova in the silver medal position.
But it was delight rather than disappointment for Bradshaw with a career best performance to make the podium in a global event.
The first seven consecutive competitors in the 15-strong field failed at the first attempt at the opening height of 4.50m.
The eighth, Sidorova, cleared, as did Preston-born Bradshaw – ranked sixth in the world – jumping ninth.
She then failed in her first attempt at the second height of 4.70, but nailed it second time around, only the second athlete to do so as multiple failures boosted the Euxton ace’s chances of a podium finish.
After the second round, Bradshaw was in the silver medal position, with only four athletes remaining from the 15 to tackle 4.80m.
Bradshaw, fourth at the last World Championships and fifth in Rio, already boasted a personal best and season’s best of 4.90m.
She failed 4.80 at the first attempt but made it at the second to keep her medal hopes alive.
Sidorova, Bradshaw and Nageotte all cleared 4.85 first time around with reigning champion Katerina Stefanidi passing after a fail.
All four went on to attempt 4.90 Stefanidi falling out of contention after her two remaining permitted attempts.
Sidorova twice failed then passed as Bradshaw failed three times at 4.90 but was assured of a bronze medal.
Nageotte cleared the bar at the second attempt and face off with Sidorova at 4.95, and the American came out on top.