Yelena Isinbayeva's historic victory with a five-metre pole vault clearance thrilled the capacity 18,000 crowd at the Norwich Union London Grand Prix meeting here last night.
The performance, ranking on a par with Jim Hines? first sub ten-seconds 100m, Roger Bannister?s sub-four-minute mile and Sergey Bubka?s sixmetre pole vault, was the highlight of a memorable meeting.
The 23-year-old Russian?s magical display outshone even the sight of Olympic champion Justin Gatlin racing to a UK all-comers? 100m record and excellent domestic victories from Tim Benjamin and Nathan Douglas.
Isinbayeva has always insisted she would become the first woman to reach the significant height and, with her 17th world record indoors and outdoors, achieved a burning ambition. It was the fourth time outdoors this month that the Olympic champion had raised the mark.
The sequence began with a 4.93m clearance in Lausanne on July 5 and a 2cm improvement in Madrid last Sunday.
Isinbayeva last night cleared 4.70m and 4.80m first time, stuttered on her first world record effort at 4.96m but the second vault saw her well clear of the bar. With a cheque for $US50,000 in her possession, she said: ?It was my dream to be the first woman to be over five metres.?
Runner-up Anna Rogowska and equal third-placed Janine Whitlock raised the Polish and UK records to 4.80m and 4.47m respectively.
Whitlock, who will appreciate the bonus of $US10,000, set a 39th national record.
Olympic champion Justin Gatlin won a dramatic 100m race against world record holder Asafa Powell with the fastest 100m time on British soil.
Gatlin set a time of 9.89secs as Jamaican Powell, five paces out of his blocks, crashed to the ground with a groin injury. Gatlin beat American compatriot Leonard Scott who broke ten seconds for the first time with 9.94secs. World champion Kim Collins posted his season?s fastest time of 10 even.