Walker no-heights in Olympic vault finals

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by Sportspress Northwest Staff

SportsPressNorthwest

Posted on August 11, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Brad Walker, a Mountlake Terrace resident and a former University of Washington All-America pole vaulter, not only failed to win a medal for the second consecutive Olympics, he failed to clear a height for the second straight Games, this time in the finals. France's Renaud Lavillenie won the gold Friday in London, setting an Olympic record of 19-5 1/2.

Walker passed at the opening height of 18-1 and then whiffed three times at 18-5 1/4.

Four years ago in Eugene at the Prefontaine Classic, Walker set an American record of 19-9 3/4. He then went to Beijing as the favorite to win, but couldn't clear a height.

Now he's done it again. The trio of misses likely ends the 31-year-old Walker's international track and field career. During it, in addition to his American record, Walker won two World Championships, 2007 outdoors in Osaka, Japan, and 2006 indoors at Moscow. He also won silver medals outdoors, in Helsinki in 2005, and indoors at Valencia, Spain, in 2008.

Walker, who won the U.S. Trials by clearing 18-7 in June, also won a bronze medal at the 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul.

The defending Olympic champion in the pole vault, Great Britain's Steven Hooker, also failed to clear a height.

Four Americans with ties to the state will pursue gold medals Saturday. Courtney Thompson and Tamari Miyashiro, both of whom starred at the University of Washington, will play for the USA women's volleyball team in a gold-medal match against Brazil that starts at 3:30 a.m. PT.

Bernard Lagat, the former Washington State University middle-distance star, is in the finals of the men's 5,000 meters. A winner of two Olympic medals, Lagat's race starts at 11:30 a.m PT.

Sue Bird and the USA women's basketball team faces off against France for the gold medal in a game that starts at 1 p.m. PT. That contest will be preceded by Australia vs. Russia for the bronze medal. Lauren Jackson of Australia and the Seattle Storm will be seeking her fourth career medal. She won silvers in 2000, 2004 and 2008.

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