Australian pole vaulter Tatiana Grigorieva, the 2006 Commonwealth Games silver medalist, has announced her retirement from athletics reports Eurosport (story).
Russian-born Grigorieva, 31, moved with her then-husband Viktor Chistiakov to Australia in 1997, and won a silver medal for her adopted country three years later in the 2000 Olympic Games - the same evening national hero Cathy Freeman won the 400m in stunning fashion.
Grigorieva's rise and stay at the top took a tumultuous tumble in 2004.
Grigorieva split from her husband in 2004 - a year which she also struggled to manage any decent jumps in the vault. So far reaching were her troubles that the Olympic silver medallist and 2002 Commonwealth Games gold medallist could not jump high enough in 2004 to make the Athens Olympic team.
She endured troubling hamstring injuries along with private life issues which plagued her lead-up to Athens, and she contemplated quitting pole vaulting three years ago. However, her Italian-based coach, Vitali Petrov, encouraged her to keep going.
"I found myself in a very difficult situation," she said to the Sydney Morning Herald prior to the Commonwealth Games last season.
"I had a choice to give up or do something about it. And I wasn't about to give up."
Grigorieva's woes didn't stop mounting in 2004, as she broke her finger in 2005.
However, showing great resolve to endure and turn out better on the other side, she gutted out a performance in the IAAF World Championships good enough for fifth place. Despite the injury, Grigorieva jumped 4.47m in London that season - her best vault in nearly four years.
Though Grigorieva mustered out fantastic efforts last season following her rebirth as a human and in the sport - "I died and I was reborn," she stated - last season was a difficult one for the news-making star, as after her Commonwealth Games runner-up finish, a crook broke into her home in Brisbane and stole her silver medal as well as her world championships and Olympic medals. It was later returned.
The incident "deeply touched" Grigorieva, as a group of students at a local university began making posters to track down the villian.
"Yes, I've got medals missing, but there are a lot of good things coming out of the situation - kids learning how to help and support."
Helping and supporting are endeavors which Grigorieva would like to take more time doing, states Eurosport, as she is apparently retiring to pursue her business and charity interests.
Grigorieva is the Founding Patron of the charity Gift 4 Dreams, a non-profit organisation which uses sport and healthy activity as a means to inspire disadvantaged young Australians to build healthier, happier and safer communities in Australia according to Grigorieva. She is also a charitable donator to Camp Quality, Variety Club and Kids Helpline.
A three-time Australian Championships gold medalist, Grigorieva was born on 1975-October-8 in Lenningrad, Russia and competed in the 400m hurdles in her youth, running 58,54 in St. Petersburg in 1996. She emigrated to Australia and began pole vaulting at age 21. One year later, in New York, she placed third at the 1998 Goodwill Games.
Grigorieva has five international medals to her credit, collecting a silver at the above-mentioned Goodwill Games; a bronze from the 1999 IAAF World Championships (4.45m); a silver at the 2000 Olympic Games (4.55m); gold from the 2002 Commonwealth Games (4.35m); and silver from last year's Commonwealth Games (4.35m).
Grigorieva's seasonal efforts:
- 2006 - 4.58m, Daegu, 28-September
- 2005 - 4.47m, London (CP), 22-July
- 2004 - 4.30m, Runaway Bay, 20-February
- 2003 - 4.23m, Malmö, 12-August
- 2002 - 4.46m, Salamanca, 10-July
- 2001 - 4.56m, Yokohama 15-September
- 2000 - 4.55m, Sydney 25-September
- 1999 - 4.50m, Salamanca 15-July
- 1998 - 4.35m, Brisbane 21-March
- 1997 - 3.90m, Adelaide 06-December
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