Sandi Morris began shouting as soon as she cleared the bar.
Having already secured a podium finish in the women’s pole vault on Sunday at the IAAF World Championships, Morris cleared 4.90 meters (just over 16 feet) to set up a dramatic finish in Doha, Qatar.
The showdown came at 4.95 meters, where Morris wound up with her second world championship silver medal after Anzhelika Sidorova cleared 4.95 on her third and final attempt. Morris was not able to clear the height.
The podium finish marked the third runner-up finish for Morris on the international stage since 2016. She won the silver medal in the Olympic Games Rio 2016 with a vault of 4.85 meters and finished second in the 2017 world championships. She won her first world indoor title in 2018, vaulting 4.95 meters in Birmingham, England.
Morris has won the last three national outdoor championships.
In Doha, Morris faced the strongest women’s pole vault competition in world history. Seventeen women qualified for the final round, the largest field in the finals of the women’s pole vault in world championship history. Three of them were Americans. Joining Morris were three-time Olympian Jenn Suhr and Katie Nageotte.
Five women cleared 4.80 meters, the first time that had happened in one competition.
Morris was the first to clear 4.80 meters, letting out a celebratory shout after she hit the mat. The same thing happened at 4.85 meters, which equaled her season best. Morris didn’t miss any vaults until she hit the bar three times at 4.95 meters.
Suhr, a 2012 Olympic champion and 10-time U.S. outdoors champion, missed at 4.80 meters, as did Nageotte, who is ranked No. 4 in the world. Both finished tied for seventh place.
Katerina Stefanidi, the 2016 Olympic champion, finished third with a vault of 4.85 meters.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.