THE defence of Steve Hooker's pole vault gold medal has been knocked off its perch like the bar he so desperately tried to clear in the Olympic Stadium.
Needing to vault a mark of 5.65 metres, Hooker never looked comfortable in trying to fly high over the bar.
At his first attempt, Hooker made the contact and was halfway into the vault before pulling out.
He aborted the second, running straight through, leaving himself with a do-or-die third attempt.
The crucial vault started poorly, Hooker pulling up three-quarters down the runway, forcing an about-turn to try it all again.
And with one last look, Hooker threw himself down the track, stuck the contact and hurled himself towards the bar.
But a lack of speed killed his chance of progressing in the competition, the reigning Olympic champion bringing down the bar and his hopes of back-to-back gold medals along with it.
Hooker had been plagued with setbacks heading into this Olympics, but a strong qualification breathed new belief into his performances.
But that was until the the mark was lifted to 5.65 metres.
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