Australia’s Eleanor Patterson claimed gold in the women’s high jump final on Tuesday night at the 2022 World Track & Field Championships, setting a personal best and Oceania area record in the process.
The 26-year-old Patterson, after recording two misses at 1.98m and one at 2.00m, then made it over the bar at 2.02 without issue. And that made all the difference.
Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh, the 2022 world indoor champion and pre-competition favorite, recorded fewer overall failures during the final, but missed her first attempt at 2.02m. Neither athlete cleared 2.04m. (A video highlight of the women’s high jump final is embedded above.)
“It is a difficult situation, we are so strong, and in the final, we will win,” Mahuchikh told NBC Sports’ Lewis Johnson about what she hopes her silver medal will mean to the people of Ukraine. She also expressed her thanks to fans in Eugene for the electric atmosphere and hospitality.
After failing to make the final at both the 2019 World Championships and last summer’s Tokyo Olympics, 30-year-old Elena Vallortigara of Italy claimed bronze.
2022 World Track and Field Championships: Day-by-day guide to the women’s events at Oregon22
Three-time reigning high jump world champion Mariya Lasitskene was absent as a result of World Athletics’ ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes following the invasion of Ukraine. Lasitskene previously competed as an “Authorized Neutral Athlete (ANA),” as a result of World Athletics’ other ongoing ban on Russia due the country’s state-sponsored doping program.
Mahuchikh, the 2021 Olympic bronze medalist who evacuated Ukraine, in March, has been supportive of the World Athletics’ ban.
“Russia is an aggressor country that launched a full-scale invasion of my country,” she told the Associated Press. “Many coaches and athletes have gone to the Army to defend our country; some are in hot spots, and some are imprisoned or killed. Sports infrastructure in many cities is destroyed. We can’t train in our native country.”
Mahuchikh won the 2022 world indoor title after a three-day car ride from her home in Dnipro, Ukraine, to Serbia. The 20-year-old has spent most of the last four months living and training in Germany, where her mother, sister and niece also fled. Her father and grandfather stayed behind in Dnipro.
The women’s high jump final wasn’t the only upset of the night at Hayward Field, with Great Britain’s Jake Wightman (men’s 1500m) and Brazil’s Alison dos Santos (men’s 400m hurdles) also picking up surprise wins. (You can read a full recap of the day’s track and field action via OlympicTalk.)
The NBC Sports research team contributed to this report.
Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC