Isinbayeva Automatic In Pole Vault Victory

APIsinbayeva clearing the bar at Beijing's National Stadium on Monday. She set a new world record of 5.05 meters.
BEIJING -- With Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang gone, it came down to Yelena Isinbayeva to produce the magic Monday at the Beijing Olympics.

The Russian pole vault great won the gold medal with barely two jumps and then added a world record for good measure -- just like she did in Athens four years ago.

Always count on Isinbayeva to come through. Compared with Sergei Bubka as the female version of the greatest vaulter in history, Isinbayeva outdid him on the Olympic stage, winning her second gold compared with his lone win.

Isinbayeva continued to jump after winning the title at 4.85 meters, first setting an Olympic record of 4.95 before breaking her own mark with a vault of 5.05.

Coming down she was already celebrating with her hands and fingers outstretched in ecstasy before hitting the matt. She followed it up with her trademark summersault.

It was world record No. 24 for her, indoor and outdoor combined, closing in ever more on Bubka's mark of 35.

Silver went to Jenn Stuczynski, the American, who fell short at 4.80. Svetlana Feofanova took bronze.

Once the title assured and challengers batted away like pesky flies, Isinbayeva retreated under a white blanket with only her sky blue spikes emerging. As so often, she found that zone that is seemingly reserved for her only.

With the whole Bird's Nest cheering her on, she missed twice -- only a tease.

Talking to her pole, she lined up one final time. Speed, skills and amazing grace conspired in one explosive move and she was the greatest again.

In one jump, Isinbayeva again reduced the rest of the athletes to a sideshow.