USA's Suhr pulls off pole vault upset; Grenada wins first medal

On a night when the lack of American men in the 400 meters was conspicuous, Jenn Suhr filled the void for the United States with a shocking win in the women's pole vault.

Suhr ended Yelena Isinbayeva's streak of gold medals at the Summer Games and denied the Russian a coveted piece of Olympic track and field history.

Suhr, the runner-up to Isinbayeva four years ago in Beijing, cleared 4.75 meters, while the two-time defending gold medalist placed third. Cuba's Yarisley Silva also cleared 4.75 meters, but had to settle for silver because Suhr had fewer misses in the competition.

She is the first American to win women's pole vault since Stacy Dragila claimed the inaugural event at the 2000 Sydney Games. Suhr is also the first non-Russian to win multiple medals in women's pole vault.

"It's really breathtaking," said Suhr. "It's something that is so emotional I can't even describe it."

Isinbayeva, widely considered the greatest women's pole vaulter of all time, was trying to become the first woman in Olympic track and field history to win three straight titles in any event. The world-record holder at 5.06 meters, Isinbayeva wound up with bronze after successfully clearing just 4.70.

With the third-place finish, Isinbayeva still managed to become the first pole vaulter -- male or female -- to win three medals since Bob Richards of the U.S. collected his third at the 1956 Melbourne Games.

Suhr and thousands of others watched as Isinbayeva electrified the crowd at four years ago in Beijing, raising her own world record to 5.05 meters to easily take gold. The Russian pushed that mark to its current point in 2009, but she failed to medal at the last two world championships in 2009 and 2011.

Isinbayeva later took a year off from the sport at the start of 2010, but she was still considered to be a favorite for gold in London.

"I think the bronze tells me 'Yelena, don't quit,' as I planned to quit after London," said Isinbayeva.

Suhr's surprising gold picked up the slack for the men's sprinters, who failed to qualify a single runner in Monday's final of the 400 meters despite winning gold, silver and bronze in the event in Beijing. Not counting the boycotted 1980 Moscow Games, this marks the first time the U.S. failed to win a medal in the event since 1920.

The best chance at gold for the Americans was expected to be 2008 Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt, but he was unable to finish his semifinal race after pulling up lame with a hamstring injury.

In the end, Kirani James claimed Grenada's first Olympic medal with an easy gold-medal run in the 400. Grenada became the 143rd nation to win an Olympic medal and the third to pick up its first here in London. Guatemala and Cyprus also joined the ranks earlier at these games.

James took a big lead into the final stretch and crossed the finish line at 43.94 seconds, posting the fastest time in his nation's history.

"I am so excited. Everyone in Grenada will be so proud," said James.

Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic was .52 seconds behind for silver. Lalonde Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago finished .06 seconds later for bronze.

The 19-year-old Santos wasn't the only Dominican to earn a spot on the podium Monday, as Felix Sanchez, who was born and raised in the U.S., claimed his second gold medal in the men's 400-meter hurdles. Michael Tinsley of the U.S. took silver.

Sanchez, the Olympic champion eight years ago in Athens, finished the race with a season-best time of 47.63 seconds and Tinsley was .28 seconds behind. The 28-year-old Tinsley won the gold medal at the U.S. Olympic trials to qualify for his first Summer Games.

"I've been dreaming about this moment since I bought my first pair of spikes," Tinsley remarked. "I've put my life into this, I've had to sacrifice so much for this, I'm so proud."

Puerto Rico's Javier Culson, runner-up at the last two world championships, grabbed bronze with a time of 48.10 seconds, .14 seconds in front of Great Britain's David Greene.

Two-time hurdles gold medalist Angelo Taylor of the U.S. crossed the finish line just .15 second after Culson, but finished fifth. American Kerron Clement, who was runner-up to Taylor in Beijing, came in sixth.

The women's 3,000-meter steeplechase was won by reigning world champion Yuliya Zaripova. The Russian completed the race in a personal-best time of 9 minutes, 6.72 seconds to win gold at her first Olympics.

Tunisia's Habiba Ghribi finished 1.65 seconds later for silver, while Sofia Assefa of Ethiopia picked up bronze with a time of 9:09.84.

Another gold went to Belarussian Nadzeya Ostapchuk, who won her second straight Olympic medal in women's shot put. Ostapchuk, a bronze medalist four years ago in Beijing, claimed her country's second gold medal in this event with a toss of 21.36 meters.

Defending Olympic champion Valerie Adams of New Zealand was .66 meters behind her for silver. Russia's Evgeniia Kolodko picked up bronze with a throw of 20.48 meters, while Gong Lijiao of China's was .26 meters behind in fourth.

Michelle Carter was the lone thrower from the U.S. to make it to the final round and finished in sixth place.

In qualifying for the women's 200 meters, Sanya Richards-Ross didn't seem to be tired after winning gold in the 400 on Sunday night, as she won her heat in 22.48 seconds. Fellow American teammates Carmelita Jeter and Allyson Felix also finished first in their respective heats to move into the semifinals.

On Saturday, Jeter finished second in the 100 to Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser- Pryce, who also qualified for the 200 semis on Monday.

Also on Monday, Americans Lashinda Demus, T'Erea Brown and Georganne Moline advanced to the finals in the women's 400-meter hurdles.