(left/photo by Howard Lao) helped open the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships by winning the women’s pole vault and leading Team USA to a 1-2 finish at the Oregon Convention Center.
Suhr, the reigning Olympic champion, cleared four straight bars on her first attempt, including her winning mark of 16-0.75 (4.90m).
US indoor champ Sandi Morris (15-11/4.85m) and Stanford alum Katerina Stefanidi of Greece (15-9/4.80m) took the other two podium positions.
(above/photo by Howard Lao) easily dispatched his competition, winning the event with a new meet record of 19-9 (6.02m), to earn his second career world indoor title.
USA indoor champ Sam Kendricks took the silver with a best of 19-0.25 (5.80m), with Piotr Lisek of Poland third at 18-10.25 (5.75m).
After winning the competition, the Frenchman asked for the bar to be raised to 20-2.75 (6.17m), which would be a new world record.
It wasn’t close, but Lavillenie rested, recovered and came again. On his second attempt, he fell into the bar while attempting to clear it and came crashing to the track, giving fans a thumbs up upon landing to signify no damage had been done. "I was a bit afraid, but I was able to manage it and fall safely," he said. "Pole vault is sometimes very dangerous and intense, but that’s why we love it."
Midway through his third and final attempt, he accepted the world record would have to wait for another day, and the new champion landed cautiously to the congratulations of an appreciative crowd.
"I’m happy to take the win and to get another six-meter jump," he said. "I have plenty of time to get the world record."
Washington State University assistant coach Angela Whyte of Canada will compete in Friday’s 60 meter hurdles.
In Tuscon, Washington State alum Jeshua Anderson, and UW grad Gianna Woodruff will open their 2016 outdoor campaign Friday afternoon at the Willie Williams Classic hosted by the University of Arizona, as both will run the 400 hurdles, as well as the 200
Federal Way HS grad Hannah Cunliffe of the University of Oregon is entered in several events, along with Oregon teammates Brooke Feldmeier, Marcus Chambers, and Alec Fellows, all of whom attended high school in the state of Washington.
NOTE: The IAAF contributed to this report.