Yelena Isinbayeva with spikes.

pd01357cm x 62cm. Graphite and Charcoal drawing on 350gsm,  watercolour paper rough. Phillip Carrero
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Autographed by Yelena at the IAAF Golden Gala meet, London 2007.

Yelena Gadzhievna Isinbayeva is a Russian pole vaulter. She is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, a three-time World Champion, the current world record holder in the event, who is widely considered the greatest female pole-vaulter of all time.

Yelena Isinbayeva is all smiles after taking the gold at the recent IAAF World Championships in Moscow 2013

– “Nobody can beat me, nobody, so sorry for this,” Isinbayeva giggled.”The other girls, they need to jump higher to even come close, but I don’t think it will. Right now, it is impossible. No chance.” –

I took this photo before the the Crystal Palace championships in London 2007. My friend Alan Launder took two drawings of Yelena to the competition and got an autograph on each. Yelena gave them back to Alan so we could raise more to buy poles with. As it happened, this drawing is on exhibition at the Sydney Olympic Athletics Centre and bares her original signature. The other sold at a fund raising dinner to a pole vaulter I was coaching at the time.