Olympic Track and Field 2012: Olga Rypakova Wins Gold in Triple Jump

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Olympic Track and Field 2012: Olga Rypakova Wins Gold in Triple Jump
Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

In a replay of the 2011 IAAF World Championships, Olha Saladuha of Ukraine, Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan and Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia reached the medal podium.

This time, however, world champion Saladuha slipped to third, as Rypakova claimed Olympic gold with a best jump of 14.98 meters, and Ibarguen took silver at 14.80 meters.

Through the first three rounds, Rypakova led the field with her third-round jump of 14.98 meters. Ibarguen was second at 14.67 meters, and Hanna Knyazyeva of Ukraine was third at 14.56 meters. The top eight competitors were allowed to continue in the second half of the competition.

None of the fourth- or fifth-round jumps bested the three top scores posted by Rypakova, Ibarguen and Knyazyeva in the first half of the event, leaving the three in position to medal into the final round.

Rypakova's fifth-round jump of 14.89 was the second-best of the event, but was below her third-round score.

Saladuha moved into silver medal position with her final jump, a leap of 14.79 meters, pushing Knyazyeva off the medal podium. Ibarguen bested Saladuha by .01 meters in her final jump, slipping back into silver medal position. Rypakova had the gold locked up before her final jump, but took a 14.40-meter leap for good measure.  

Crowd favorite Yamile Aldama of Great Britain finished in fifth place, with her best jump of 14.48 meters coming in her final jump. 

The triple jump has been a staple of the Olympics since the first modern Olympiad in Athens in 1896, and a version of the event extends back to the Ancient Greek Olympics. Women did not compete in the event until the 1996 Olympics, and Eastern European competitors dominated the sport early, with athletes from Ukraine, Russia and the Czech Republic earning medals in Atlanta.

Francoise Mbango Etone of Cameroon and Hrysopiyi Devetzi of Greece ended Eastern Europe's control of the medal stand at the 2004 Olympics with their gold and silver medal jumps. Since then, the event's elite competitors have tended to hail from Eastern Europe and the Caribbean.

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