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Isinbayeva aims for 3rd Olympic pole vault title

Wednesday - 8/8/2012, 12:36pm  ET

By GRAHAM DUNBAR
AP Sports Writer

LONDON (AP) - Two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva is targeting a third gold medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

After a couple of days to reflect on her bronze medal from the London Olympics, the 30-year-old Russian said Wednesday that she has "no reason to stop."

"I'm very optimistic for the future. Now I'm thinking about Rio and, of course, I would like to get the gold from Rio and then retire," Isinbayeva said.

"If I had got this gold medal from London, definitely I will stop, I will quit, I will retire," she said. "But the Gods say, 'OK, you have to stay a little bit more in the sport, so please continue, don't stop.'"

Isinbayeva fell just short of becoming the first woman to win three straight Olympic titles in an individual athletics event.

Her best clearance at 4.70 meters was 5 centimeters less than Jenn Suhr of the United States. It was also 36 centimeters shy of her outdoor world record of 5.06 meters.

Later that evening, she said her "decision is changing every day" about continuing her career.

She was more positive Wednesday at an event promoting the Youth Olympic Games, for which she is an ambassador and mentor.

"Definitely I would like to be in Rio but I will be 34 years old," Isinbayeva said. "The important thing I want is to stay healthy and be physically ready for the games."

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge welcomed her renewed desire as "very, very good news for the sport."

"There are many challenges ahead of you like the Moscow world championships next year in your home city," Rogge told Isinbayeva, who was sitting beside him at the event. "Why not a new world record?"

The most recent of Isinbayeva's 28 record clearances _ and first since 2009 _ was a 5.01 indoor mark in Stockholm in February.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)