Greece’s Katerina Stefanidi won the Good Medal in the pole vault at the Rio Olympics– her country’s first track and field gold since the 2004 Athens Games, clearing 4.85 meters to beat American Sandi Morris, who took silver.
After the competition, Katerina defended the integrity of the competition after a barred Russian athlete, Yelena Isinbayeva, blasted the event as sub-par without her in the field.
“Every single athlete in there would have wanted her to be there and have a chance to beat her,” Stefanidi said of the two-time Russian Olympic champion, who was excluded from the Rio Games as part of a mass ban on Russian athletes over a doping scandal.
“Things are how they are and we had nothing to do with it,” Stefanidi told reporters.
In a jab to the competitors, Isinbayeva said that whoever won would not have earned “a proper gold medal” due to her absence.
Stefanidi, who lives in the United States and had tremendous success as a member of the Stanford track and field team. She won two NCAA championships and five conference titles for Stanford; three outdoors in the Pac-10/Pac-12 and two indoors in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. She holds Stanford records indoors and outdoors and earned six All-America honors.