Up next: motherhood
After winning her latest, and perhaps last, gold medal, Yelena Isinbayeva almost immediately looked at the next challenge ahead — motherhood. Sports greatest female pole vaulter put on one of her best shows ever at 31, turning a half decade of losses, injuries and frustration into Russia’s best night so far at the world championships. Now, the athlete who almost singlehandedly turned women’s pole vaulting from a sporting oddity into a star event will be looking out for herself. Soon, she said shortly after Tuesday night’s victory, she will be pregnant. “A kind of walking penguin,” she joked.
There had been rumors of retirement, but this time she provided clarity: She will come back for the 2016 Olympics after giving birth. “If I will be able to come back I will be in Rio definitely, but if something will go wrong I will officially announce that I will retire,’’ Isinbayeva said. “For the moment, just a small woman’s break.”
Coming back from motherhood has been done before, notably by Russia’s second-most popular track star, Anna Chicherova. The high jumper returned from giving birth to her daughter Nika in 2010 to take both the world and Olympic titles. At 31, she is the favorite to retain her title in Moscow when qualifying opens Thursday.
With her biological clock ticking, Isinbayeva is now taking more than one step at a time, though. “I’m running ahead of everyone again,” she said. “My fiance is shocked. He asks me in the morning not to tell anybody. Let’s first get pregnant.”
Russia yearns for more
Russia hailed the stunning triumph of Yelena Isinbayeva, hoping her victory would not mark the culmination of an illustrious career. “I congratulate Yelena Isinbayeva on a bright, emotional and well-earned victory. I wish Yelena new achievements — in sport and in her personal life!” Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev wrote on Facebook. “Continue Yelena! You are wonderful!” said the Sovietsky Sport daily. “Isinbayeva did not give one chance to her opponents. It would be a shame if she left sport.” “A bird of happiness,” said the Sport Express daily. “Yesterday evening, Yelena