Mariya Lasitskene of Russia wins women’s Olympic high jump gold

Mariya Lasitskene

TOKYO, Aug 7: Russian Mariya Lasitskene won gold in the women’s high jump at the Olympics on Saturday.

Mariya Lasitskene of the Russian Olympic committee won the gold medal as the only woman to clear 2.04 meters, which is just shy of 6 feet, 7 inches. Australia’s Nicola McDermott earned silver (2.02 meters), while Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh took bronze (2.00 meters).

Uzbekistan’s Safina Sadullayeva tied Cunningham for sixth.

Cunningham was in search of her first Olympic medal. Earlier this year, she upped her personal best to 2.02m (6-7.5), one of only 33 women in history to jump that high, and the second-best mark in the world in 2021.

The 23-year-old Last Vegas native earned her first global medal in 2016, when she won World Indoor Championship gold. It was after that meet that she announced she had decided to turn pro, forgoing college.

Cunningham has only ever been coached by her father, former NFL quarterback Randall, and while Randall’s methods are a little unorthodox — Vashti only jumps once or twice a month in practice, and has rarely competed overseas in Diamond League meets against other top women — it’s hard to argue the results.

After finishing 11th at the 2016 Olympics, she first cleared 2.00 meters (6-6.75) in 2019 and was bronze medalist at the World Championships that year.

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